“Grey’s Anatomy’s” Ellen Pompeo Gets Emotional Over Show’s Impact

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For over 15 years, Ellen Pompeo has played a major role in the success of the much-loved show Grey’s Anatomy. And on Tuesday (Oct. 23,) the actress confirmed that she will be back for a 16thseason for a very special reason.

She’s doing it for the fans.

“A teenager was in the show, and he was gay, and played a gay character on the show,” she told Ellen DeGeneres on her talk show. “After we had filmed the whole entire episode he said, ‘My whole life I’ve watched the show with my parents and I’ve sort of used the show to tell my parents I’m gay.’”

And then, the tears began to fall.

She went on to recall the story the teen told her, saying that ‘to show my parents, It’s okay that I’m not different and there’s nothing wrong with me. Grey’s really helped my parents to understand what having a gay son meant and that it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.’”

[MORE: Grey’s Anatomy’s Caterina Scorsone Celebrates Daughter: “Differences Are Beautiful”]

Pompeo went on to say that fans often approach her “with tears in their eyes,” about the long-running show.

“I got to keep doing it, man, because we’re touching lives and making a difference,” says Pompeo, who was recently honored with a GLSEN Respect Award from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.