Denzel Washington Says He Doesn't Recall Ellen Pompeo's Account of Their Spat

Denzel Washington has said that he has no recollection of getting into a heated spat with Ellen Pompeo when he directed an episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Grey's Anatomy star Pompeo said in September 2021 on her podcast, Tell Me With Ellen Pompeo, that she and the revered actor clashed when he directed an episode of the popular medical drama that aired back in 2016.

At issue, the actress recalled, was that she had improvised a line that wasn't in the script—sparking the apparent ire of Oscar winner Washington.

Sharing that Washington stopped rolling, she said of her improvised line: "That wasn't in the dialogue and Denzel went ham on my a**,' He was like, 'I'm the director. Don't you tell him what to do.'"

She went on: "I was like, 'Listen, motherf*****, this is my show. This is my set. Who are you telling? You barely even know where the bathroom is."

Stating that Washington, who is married to actress Pauletta Washington, only "did the show because his wife is a big fan," Pompeo said: "I think he saw it as a good exercise to just come in and direct something quick."

The actress, who plays Meredith Grey on the show, then cuttingly added: "Denzel's a movie star, right? He doesn't know s*** about directing TV."

Pompeo's recollection of her time working with Denzel Washington sparked outrage on social media, with a number of Twitter users branding her "disrespectful" for her reaction to the veteran screen star.

However, Washington appeared somewhat nonplussed when asked about the purported incident during a newly published interview with Variety, responding: "No, no," before saying that he didn't recall the day in question.

Variety reported that Washington then added with a "slight grin" that "it's all good."

During her podcast episode in September 2021, Pompeo said that she and Washington were likely at loggerheads because they are both actors.

"So, we didn't get through it without a fight, but that's actors for you," she said. "Passionate and fiery and that's where you get the magic, and that's where you get the good stuff. So, it was an amazing experience, it really was."

She also insisted that she has the "utmost respect for [Washington] as an actor and director"—though she made a point of telling his wife about their exchange.

Pompeo recounted: "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."'

Denzel Washington and Ellen Pompeo
Denzel Washington (L) has stated that he has no recollection of having a spat with Ellen Pompeo (R) when he directed an episode of "Grey's Anatomy" several years ago. Jim Spellman/Getty Images;/Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images