The 41-year-old actress, who is one of three original stars still on the series, opened up on her new podcast interview about her fiery fight with Denzel, who directed an episode of the show.
“After you left, I was like, ‘Eh, why do I have to stay here?’” she shared “‘Everyone’s gone. I gotta go now. Sandra’s gone, Patrick’s gone, I gotta go, too.’”
It seems that the idea of working with Denzel was too good to pass up though.
Click inside to see what Ellen shared about her fight with Denzel…
“He came probably three weeks prior so he could get caught up, because Denzel doesn’t watch much TV, he’d probably never seen the show,” Ellen shared. “He did the show because his wife is a big fan… I think he saw it as a good exercise to just come in and direct something quick.”
She went on, “But, imagine Denzel Washington coming on to direct an episode of Grey’s Anatomy? That’s something that I never thought that I would see, ever.”
Ellen admits that while it was surreal having him on the set, they soon came head to head.
“Superstars are superstars for a reason,” she said. “There’s just an energy and a vibration that they give off that makes them super charismatic. Patrick has it, Obama has it, anyone that I’ve ever met that’s, like, crazy charismatic has it. And Denzel has it in spades, for sure… But, Denzel’s a movie star, right? He doesn’t know sh** about directing TV.”
Denzel had directed the season 12, episode 9 episode titled “The Sound of Silence,” where Meredith Grey is attacked by an epileptic patient, who breaks her jaw, and Ellen had to act as if her jaw was wired shut in order to heal.
The reason that they got into a fight is because she went off script.
“One of the scenes at the end of the episode, I have to go [confront] this man who beat me up,” Ellen recalled. “And so Meredith was really hesitant and reluctant. My jaw was broken, and I couldn’t bring myself to go hear the apology from this character… She was just at the point where she wasn’t having it.”
“I didn’t really want to talk to this actor or see this actor before we did this scene, so I didn’t have much interaction with him at all. And then, he apologized to me, but he was doing it really softly. He made this choice to speak very softly. And I was pissed that I had to sit there and listen to this apology. And he wasn’t looking at me in the eye… and I yelled at him, I was like, ‘Look at me! When you apologize, look at me!’ And that wasn’t in the dialogue.”
After that, Denzel called her out on it.
“Denzel went ham on my a**,” she said. “He was like, ‘I’m the director! Don’t you tell him what to do!’”
Then it was her turn: “I was like, ‘Listen, motherf***er, this is my show! This is my set! Who are you telling- You barely even know where the bathroom is!’ I have the utmost respect for him as an actor, as a director, as everything, but we went at it!”
“Then his wife came to set to visit, and I was not talking to him. I was mad at him. And I told his wife, I was like, ‘Yeah, he yelled at me today. He let me have it today, and I’m not OK with him, and I’m not looking at him, and I’m not talking to him.’”
However, Ellen and Denzel were completely “fine after that” and they have no hard feelings.
“He’s just one of the best to ever do it.”
Grey’s Anatomy season 18 premieres tomorrow, September 30 on ABC.