50 Things You Never Knew About 'Grey's Anatomy'

Guys, Patrick Dempsey almost wasn't McDreamy. 😱

Grey's Anatomy Trivia
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Even after 15 seasons and more than 300 episodes, there's still so much to uncover about . Beyond the show's weekly drama (and gut-wrenching heartbreak), there are tons of well-kept secrets about the cast, props, and set. Well, until now.

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Grey's Anatomy Trivia
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Shonda Rhimes was inspired by the Discovery Channel.

Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes' inspiration came from her love of the medical shows she watched on the Discovery Channel. "My sisters and I would call each other up and talk about operations we'd seen," she said in an interview with . "There's something fascinating about the medical world — you see things you'd never imagine, like the fact that doctors talk about their boyfriends or their day while they're cutting somebody open."

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Shonda Rhimes - Grey's Anatomy Trivia
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And then she decided to make things more personal.

"My show is more personal [than E.R.]. The idea for the series began when a doctor told me it was incredibly hard to shave her legs in the hospital shower," Rhimes told . "At first that seemed like a silly detail. But then I thought about the fact that it was the only time and place this woman might have to shave her legs."

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Seattle - Grey's Anatomy Trivia
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Seattle wasn't the show's original setting.

Rhimes originally wanted to set Grey's Anatomy in her hometown of , but worried that doing so would make the show too similar to E.R., which was already set in there.

RELATED: The Best Grey's Anatomy Quotes of All Time, Just Because

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Grey's Anatomy Trivia
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'Grey's Anatomy' is the show's second name.

It was originally called .

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Meredith's House - Grey's Anatomy Trivia
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Meredith Grey's home is a real house.

You may have assumed it's a set, but it's a real house in . Yep, someone actually lives there.

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Dr. Preston Burke - Grey's Anatomy Trivia
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Isaiah Washington wanted to be McDreamy.

"It didn't work out, and it went exactly the way it was supposed to go. Four days later, I get a call after I was passed over from Shonda saying, 'I really wanted you in this piece so would you be interested in playing a recurring character," the actor who played Dr. Preston Burke says of his initial audition.

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Dr. Karev - Grey's Anatomy Trivia
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Dr. Alex Karev wasn't in the original script.

Justin Chambers was brought on after the pilot episode. "The role of Dr. Karev ... they shot the pilot before I came on," . "The character wasn't even created yet, I don't think. They sent the pilot to New York where I lived and I saw it and loved it and I went out to L.A. to try to win the part and auditioned and got the role. So that's how Alex came about."

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Cristina Yang - Grey's Anatomy Trivia
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Sandra Oh was supposed to play the role of Miranda Bailey.

"Thank god I did not get that part," she joked at .

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Cristina Yang - Grey's Anatomy Trivia
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But she actually wanted to play Cristina instead.

"At that time I was practicing asking for what I wanted in my life, which I still practice today. And I saw the part of Christina Yang and I wanted to do that part," she . "So even though Shonda wanted me to come in for the part of Bailey, I said, 'No I want to come in for Christina.'"

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Meredith Grey - Grey's Anatomy Trivia
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Ellen Pompeo didn't actually audition for the show.

Shonda Rhimes and ABC network simply gave Pompeo the part. "I didn't audition for Meredith Grey; I was offered the part by Shonda and the network. Shonda Rhimes wasn't really 'Shonda Rhimes' at the time. It wasn't a big deal — it was just another pilot," she . "My agent said, 'Just do the pilot and make some money — these things never go.'" And here we are fifteen years later...

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Interns - Grey's Anatomy Trivia
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Rhimes deliberately chose to focus on interns over surgeons.

"I chose interns over established surgeons because I thought there's something really horrible about not knowing what you're doing for a living," she .

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Cast - Grey's Anatomy Trivia
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The characters were a free-for-all.

"I wasn't really trying to pull together any specific combination of characters together when I was picking the cast," she . "Whoever was best, that's who we were going to cast."

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Miranda Bailey - Grey's Anatomy Trivia
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...Except for Miranda Bailey.

Chandra Wilson, Dr. Bailey was originally imagined as "a short, white, blonde female." Shonda that Bailey was, "the only character who had a description."

RELATED: 10 Amazing 'Grey's Anatomy' Gifts That Are Screaming "Choose Me, Love Me"

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Miranda Bailey - Grey's Anatomy Trivia
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Wilson was apprehensive about auditioning.

"I wasn't seen for it for awhile and then finally casting in New York saw me because she'd known me for years and said, 'Why not,'" Wilson .

But there was a bigger plan all along: "Honestly the reason we were so reticent about talking to her after she auditioned in L.A. was because she was perfect," . "We thought if we spoke to her we would all convey, 'Oh my god please we want you,' as opposed to letting things happen the way they're supposed to."

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Dr. Shepherd - Grey's Anatomy Trivia
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Patrick Dempsey didn't know his character was married until the middle of Season 1.

"You really don't know what's going to happen from day to day most of the time," said . "Stuff is always being rewritten and changed and storylines are being revealed to you. You really have to think on your feet. I didn't know I was married until halfway through."

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Meredith Grey - Grey's Anatomy Trivia
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And Pompeo didn't know until the end of Season 1.

"They didn't tell me that was coming," Pompeo . "I was very surprised."

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Surgery - Grey's Anatomy Trivia
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Real surgeons are brought in for the surgery scenes.

"We have a really terrific medical producer, Linda Klein, who stages these operations and brings in real surgeons so the handwork you see a lot of the time is a real surgeon tying a knot," Executive Producer Jim Parriott .

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Surgery - Grey's Anatomy Trivia
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The organs are 100% real.

Well, they come from (mostly).

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Addison - Grey's Anatomy Trivia
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Addison Shepherd was only supposed to be on for a couple of episodes.

"Initially it was just probably going to be a few episodes ... come in like a badass from New York and that'll be that," Kate Walsh .

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Patrick Dempsey - Grey's Anatomy Trivia
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Dempsey thought Rhimes hated him.

"So I got into the room and [pilot director] Peter [Horton]'s very warm, very loving towards me ... we reconnect," he . "And then Shonda Rhimes looks at me. No expression, just looks at me. The entire meeting, just looking at me. No expression, no warmth, nothing. Everybody else is talking, it's very quiet, and then I leave. I call my agent and I'm like, 'It's not going to work at all. Shonda Rhimes hates me.' I was completely terrified; she's scary."

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Katherine Heigl - Grey's Anatomy Trivia
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Katherine Heigl shared a lot in common with her character.

"The writers incorporate a lot of our own personalities into the characters. I cook, I bake, I knit. Izzie's the super moral version of me," Heigl .

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Meredith Grey Kiss - Grey's Anatomy Trivia
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Pompeo said kissing McDreamy wasn't so bad. (Duh.)

"His wife Jill is very, very nice and very understanding, as is my boyfriend (now husband) Chris," she . "So we're completely guilt-free."

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Justin Chambers - Grey's Anatomy Trivia
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Justin Chambers has five kids and a wife of 16 years IRL.

"I think one of the best-kept secrets of our show is that Justin has five kids and has been married for 10 years," Heigl told .

RELATED: How and When to Watch and Stream the New Season of 'Grey’s Anatomy'

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Katherine Heigl - Grey's Anatomy Trivia
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Heigl read one full book every day on set.

"This pretty blonde will read a book a day on set. I'm not kidding you, a book a day," Chambers told .

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T.R. Knight - Grey's Anatomy Trivia
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T.R. Knight was the class clown on set.

"T.R. keeps us all laughing, just continually," Heigl. "He's got the best sense of humor on set."

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Surgery - Grey's Anatomy Trivia
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The cast trains with real doctors.

"One of my best, best-kept secrets is that I continue to train with real doctors," said Washington. "I go to open heart surgeries whenever I can or brain surgeries whenever I can. That just helps me keep my edge."

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Walsh thought Derek and Addison shouldn't have broken up.

"The best thing for everybody involved, I feel, is that Derek and Addison really should be together," she said.

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James Pickens Jr - Grey's Anatomy Trivia
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James Pickens lassos (yes, really) between takes.

"It kind of gets me relaxed and ready to roll," he . Of course it does.

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Surgery - Grey's Anatomy Trivia
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A lot of the medical stories are adapted from real-life events.

"[They're] from articles that we find in the paper or sometimes we sit in a room and say, 'Is this possible, could this happen', run to the door, ask our medical researcher, 'can this happen,' and she comes back and says, 'yeah you can impale two people on a pole and they can still be talking,' or 'yeah an entire hospital staff can get syphilis,'" said .

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Isaiah Washington - Grey's Anatomy Trivia
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Washington was fired from the show.

Washington used a homophobic slur in regard to co-star T.R. Knight and was subsequently fired. As a result, his return to the show in 2014 sparked a major .

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