In November, Shonda Rhimes had fans guessing after she told Larry Wilmore that she once killed off a character because she didn't like the actor. Nearly everyone's top pick was Patrick Dempsey, whose Derek Shepherd died on Grey's Anatomy in April - and now Dempsey is finally addressing the issue.
"I think she loves being provocative and that's fine for who she is. That gets people talking about all the stuff that she's doing. She's an amazing woman who is incredibly productive," he diplomatically tells Entertainment Weekly when asked if he was the actor to which Rhimes was referring. "She's promoting a book. She's promoting three shows. And she's emerging as the star of all of these things. I think she knows how to deal with the media and what she needs to say to get the response that she's looking for. She's very savvy."
That sounds like a compliment, at least. Rhimes is not the only one having a very busy year though. Dempsey is finishing up a racing season with Porsche and will next appear in Bridget Jones's Baby. However, he still feels the weight of leaving the show.
"I knew it would be heavy like that. I didn't realize until [the EW interview]. It started to dawn on me that this is coming to an end, which is why I think I was so moved by it," he said. "It was the first time I really stepped back and was starting to witness and to reflect on what had happened. That was the first time I was really saying goodbye to [Derek]. And I wasn't at all surprised with how people reacted. "
However, Dempsey didn't spend too much time looking at the fan reactions. He's gotten a similar response from people that see him on the street though. "'It's good to see you're alive' is the comment you get. And I'm like, 'Yes, I'm very much alive in reruns,'" he quips. "I think that was the thing. People were really invested in that relationship."
Despite fan heartbreak, Dempsey doesn't seem to have any regrets about leaving the show. When EW asked if the show feels far away, the actor was very affirmative.
"Oh completely like that, without question. Very happy to have moved on with a different chapter in my life," he said.
Bridget Jones's Baby hits theaters Sept. 16.