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Patrick Dempsey as Dr. Derek Shepherd in Grey's Anatomy
Frank Ockenfels—ABC/Getty Images

It was the heartbreak heard round the world when Grey’s Anatomy killed off its beloved Derek Shepherd, more commonly known as McDreamy. And though show creator Shonda Rhimes and star Ellen Pompeo have already responded to despondent fans, Pompeo had something else to add.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly for a special issue on Rhimes’ Thursday night television block, Pompeo said she was offended fans couldn’t imagine the show without Patrick Dempsey’s character.

Rhimes chimed in as well. “It was so interesting for me to discover that audiences, especially women, are so conditioned to believe that there’s a singular fairy tale that nobody stops to think that that might not be the definition of happiness,” she said. “We got to the point in the season when Meredith said, “I can live without you, but I don’t want to,” which for any woman is a very powerful statement. It means: You complement me, but you don’t complete me.”

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