His McDreamy dreams were dashed.
Actor Isaiah Washington nearly played the part of Dr. Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd on ABC’s hit medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy” — except actress Ellen Pompeo didn’t want him as her love interest.
“There’s a rumor out there or something that Ellen didn’t want me to be her love interest because she had a black boyfriend,” Washington said of Pompeo’s alleged objection to him getting the role that ultimately went to Patrick Dempsey, according to an excerpt from the new book “How To Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey’s Anatomy” by Entertainment Weekly Editor-at-Large Lynette Rice.
“The context is that she’s not into white men. I guess she implied that her boyfriend may have had a problem with her doing love scenes with me, so she felt uncomfortable. I supported her with that,” explained Washington, 58, who said he actually auditioned for neurosurgeon McDreamy — not Dr. Preston Burke, the role he wound up with.
“I had a beard and Afro and was going for a Ben Carson character at the time,” said Washington, referencing the now-retired neurosurgeon and politician. “[Show creator] Shonda [Rhimes] and I thought it was a great idea to represent a brain surgeon who looked like Dr. Ben Carson. That didn’t go that way.”
Pompeo — married to Chris Ivery, a 54-year-old African-American music producer, since 2007 — has previously given statements that align with Washington’s account.
“You know they wanted Isaiah Washington to be my boyfriend,” she told The Post in 2013, six years after Washington was fired ahead of the long-running series’ fourth season for using a derogatory slur against gays both on set and at the 2007 Golden Globe Awards. “Shonda really wanted to put a black man in the mix. I didn’t think they were really going to put an interracial couple on the show and I didn’t want him. It was too close to home.”
Pompeo, 51, made clear her preference was for white actor and race-car driver Dempsey, now 55.
“I wanted that Dempsey kid,” she said, adding, “I think that once Isaiah did not get the role, it backfired.”
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