Ellen Pompeo

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After two seasons on ABC, Grey's Anatomy is one of the top-rated televisions shows in America, but just weeks before the series premiered, Ellen says the show's future was in jeopardy. "We didn't even have an air date until a couple weeks before we finished the first season," she says. "None of us thought they would put us on the air."

Then, at the last minute, show producers changed the name to Grey's Anatomy from Complications, which Ellen says didn't test well. Once producers worked out the kinks, the show aired and the audience was hooked. Ellen attributes the success of the series to on-set chemistry and great writing. "Despite the long hours and how hard it is, I think we all really get along," she says. "We have fun, and I think people feel that."

Ellen doesn't always agree with Meredith's decisions on the show. For example, in one scene this season Meredith professes her love for Dr. Shepherd and begs him to choose her over his wife, Addison.

"I certainly know how it feels to be in love like that," Ellen says. "But I would never beg a man. I would say all those things—how I love you—without the begging. Let him step up and do something."