Grey's Anatomy fans likely know every detail of Meredith Grey's relationship history, the ups and downs of which have been chronicled over the course of the ABC drama's 14 (soon to be 15) seasons. What many followers don't know much about, though, is the real-life romance of the actress who plays Meredith, Ellen Pompeo.
Despite being one of TV's biggest stars (not to mention ), Ellen has managed to keep her family life with her husband, Chris Ivery, under the radar compared to many of her Hollywood peers.
Ellen, 48, met the music producer, 50, while shopping at a grocery store in Los Angeles in 2003. They clearly made an impression on each other amid the aisles because the two began dating six months later. Incredibly, Ellen and Chris discovered that they actually grew up just minutes from each other near Boston.
"We were six degrees our whole lives, so I feel like we were sort of meant to be," Ellen told in 2006, adding, "We'll get married eventually, secretly."
The very next year, in 2007, the couple did just that at New York City Hall. The ceremony, which was officiated by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, was so private that not one wedding guest was invited. The only witness was First Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris.
The simple nuptials and a weekend getaway were just what the California-based bride and groom wanted. "We flew out on a redeye Thursday night. Friday morning, we woke up, went to City Hall, had the wedding really quick, and then we went to Lupa for lunch after," Ellen told . "We had the whole weekend and no one knew, so we had that to ourselves."
After they tied the knot, their family continued to grow. The couple now has three children: Stella Luna, born 2009, Sienna May, born 2014, and Eli Christopher, born 2016. And Ellen's makes it clear where her priorities are; the actress describes herself as "Personal Assistant to Stella Luna, Sienna May and Eli Christopher."
Though equally aww-inducing, Ellen's romance differs from that of her iconic character's long-running love affair with Derek Shepherd, aka Dr. McDreamy, in many ways. One of which is that Ellen nor Chris has ever been previously married.
After more than 10 years together, Ellen told Us Weekly's podcast that their successful marriage depends on accepting each other for who they are. "Just don't try to change people," she said. "They are who they are, and they were fine when you married them, so don't expect them to change."