Before MerLuca, Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) almost had another new man.
Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff revealed to EW that there was originally a different plan for Meredith’s return to the dating scene, but after the casting got leaked, the plan changed.
“[TVLine] found out that we were casting a European scientist as a potential love interest for Meredith,” Vernoff said. “When that got leaked, I went into the writers’ room and said, ‘That’s not interesting to me anymore. What else could this character be?'”
“That character became Marie Cerone, the old friend of Meredith’s mom,” Vernoff continued. “It was a much more interesting story than some temporary love interest. We changed it because we wanted to thwart expectations.”
If you ask us, the story they ended up with was far better. Marie (Rachel Ticotin) originally arrived as the holder of a patent that Meredith needed access to for her mini liver project, and then we learned that Marie was best friends with Ellis Grey (Kate Burton), until suddenly they weren’t anymore.
It turned out that Marie had been a harassment victim of Harper Avery, so when Ellis won her award, she took Marie’s name off of the project. Meredith made up for this by formally changing the name of the Grey Method to the Grey Cerone Method, and the Harper Avery Foundation became the Catherine Fox Foundation.
That storyline, along with Meredith winning a Harper Avery, ended up being part of a season that showcased Meredith at career highs, a “medical superhero” as Vernoff told us Pompeo wanted Meredith to become.
“When I came back to the show in season 14, Ellen wanted to make sure I wasn’t just coming in to pair her up with another guy,” Vernoff explained. “She was a little tired of playing romance. She’d been doing it for a lot of seasons, and I said, great, let’s not. She said, ‘I want to be like a medical superhero,’ and I said, ‘Done.’ And that’s what we did for that season. It was great, and we loved it, and I think that I earned her trust and we became creative partners, and then it was like, OK, are we ready? Can we dip our toes back in?”
The show did, in fact, dip its toes back into romance for Meredith, and now she’s happily in love with DeLuca (in the midst of a legal crisis, but still).
For all the romance Grey’s Anatomy is known for, Meredith has a surprisingly short list of love interests, as you can see below.
The entire series started with Meredith and Derek’s first night together, after they met in a bar. Then they got serious, but then it turned out he was married, and then he went back to his wife, and then he went back to Meredith, and then they broke up, and then they got back together, and then they got post-it married, and then they had kids, and then they struggled through his new job in DC, and then he up and died. And then Meredith had a secret baby!
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Meredith and her dog’s vet, Finn Dandridge, got serious after Meredith and Derek broke up due to the fact that, ya know, he was married and wanted to try to patch things up with his wife. They attempted to make things work, even after Meredith cheated on Finn with Derek, and she dated both men, but you know how this story ends…McDreamy came out ahead.
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George (RIP) had a crush on Meredith in the beginning of the series and he finally got his wish and they slept together in season two. It was an unmitigated disaster and ruined their friendship for a little while, but eventually they got over it.
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Dr. Will Thorpe came in at a rough time for Meredith. Derek was dead, and she was getting her life back together. She avoided his advances for a bit, but they eventually dated—and slept together. Mer freaked, since this was the first guy she dated since Derek’s death, and broke it off after screaming at him to get out of her house. Will said he’d wait for her…and we’re three seasons later…is he still waiting?
Meredith and Nathan slept together at the end of season 12 (the same season she dated Will), but, since this is Grey’s, they decided it was a one-time thing…that happens again. They started dating, but then his thought-to-be-dead fiancee Megan returned from the not-dead, and there was no question about whether Meredith would encourage him to go back to the love of his life.
Meredith went on one blind date with John, played by Josh Radnor, and it went so well…until he complained about dating needy, desperate single moms. Bye, John.
He barely deserves to be mentioned, but people reacted so strongly to Josh Radnor being cast as Mer’s new love interest that it was so, so funny when he was really only there for one ill-fated date at the start of season 15.
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For a hot second, before the show committed to MerLuca, Meredith was in a bit of a love triangle with two fellow hot docs hoping to win her over. Even as we were hoping for DeLuca to prevail, the triangle was pretty entertaining. Link (Chris Carmack) has now found found himself a fling with Amelia (Caterina Scorsone), so it all worked out.
DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti) first drunkenly kissed Meredith at Alex and Jo’s not-quite-a-wedding at the end of season 14, and thus began a flirtation and a series of sex dreams that soon grew into something more, with the help of a very sexy broken elevator. By the end of season 15, they had both said “I love you,” and DeLuca had even taken the fall for a crime Meredith committed. Hopefully, that means MerLuca is here to stay (even if one of them has to go to jail).
Grey’s Anatomy airs on ABC.
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