Fans of Grey’s Anatomy watch the hit TV show not just for its high-level drama, but for all the couples that break up, makeup, and cycle in and out of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.
From Meredith Grey’s sweeping love story with Derek Shepherd to Jackson Avery and April Kepner’s dysfunctional union, one thing Grey’s Anatomy knows how to do is get the fans emotionally involved.
In real life, however, actors on the show keep their relationships less dramatic and, for the most part, out of the spotlight.
Here are the real-life partners of the cast of Grey’s Anatomy.
Ellen Pompeo & Chris Ivery
When Ellen Pompeo hangs up Meredith Grey’s scrubs, she goes home to her husband of 16 years, Chris Ivery.
The two met in 2003, got married in 2007 and later welcomed three children — Stella Luna, born in 2009, Sienna May, born in 2014, and Eli Christopher, born in 2016.
Though Pompeo has called her supportive hubby “my rock … my soulmate,” the record producer wasn’t always keen on her steamy love scenes on Grey’s.
“I remember in the beginning it was really hard for him,” she said on the Ladies First with Laura Brown podcast in 2021. “He was like, ‘This is not what I signed up for. You go to work and make out with that. I like Patrick [Dempsey] and everything, he’s a good dude, but like really?’ “
Needless to say, Ivery adjusted and stood by his girl for her 19-season tenure on the show.
Patrick Dempsey & Jillian Dempsey
Patrick Dempsey’s run-in with wife, Jillian was written in the stars — or, at least, in an appointment book.
At the time of their meeting in 1994, Jillian, who owned a hair salon, had an employee who had a knack for jotting down celebrity names in the appointment book as a joke. So, when she saw her future hubby’s name on the list of clients, she thought it was another ruse.
However, when the actor walked in, Jillian was pleasantly surprised. “I was shocked,” she recalled. “But at the same time, I was happy because he was so cute.”
At the time, both parties were in relationships and didn’t get together until 1997. Jillian moved in three months after their first date and the couple wed in 1999.
Beautiful as their love story has been, the Dempseys have been honest about the tougher times in their marriage, including their near-split in 2015.
“Our marriage was not something I was prepared to let go of,” Patrick told PEOPLE in 2016. “I didn’t feel like we had done all the work. And we both wanted to do that work. That’s where it started.”
The lovebirds share three children: daughter Talula Fyfe, whom they welcomed in 2002, and twin sons Sullivan Patrick and Darby Galen, whom they welcomed in 2007.
Chandra Wilson & Grant Fairman
Though Dr. Miranda Bailey ended up outing her relationship with Ben Warren (Jason Winston George) on the show, in real life, Chandra Wilson has kept a tight lid on her private life.
In an interview with Parade, Wilson had this to say about raising her three children with her low-key partner Grant Fairman, “He and I have a 19-year relationship. We go back and forth, but it works for us.” And that’s the most we’ve ever gotten.
Justin Chambers & Keisha Chambers
Alex Karev may have been conflicted between his past love, Izzie Stevens, and more recent love Jo Wilson, but in real life, Justin Chambers’ heart has belonged to one woman — his wife, Keisha — for upwards of 30 years.
The two met when Justin was working as a model in the early ’90s and his wife was a booking agent. They got married in 1993 and share five kids: daughters Isabella, Maya and Kaila (who are twins) and Eva, and son Jackson.
On his long-term relationship with his soulmate, Justin told Good Housekeeping in 2007, “We’ve been together for so long that I really don’t know any other way to be. I can remember lying in bed with her years ago and having conversations about our grandparents — and now our grandparents are gone,” he revealed.
“We’ve gone through that together, and now our parents are getting older and we’re going through that together. Every relationship has its ups and downs, but I’m glad I get to go through the ups and downs with her. I just feel really fortunate to have found someone who will be my partner on this journey.”
Katherine Heigl & Josh Kelley
Katherine Heigl and Josh Kelley’s meet-cute is the ultimate Hollywood love story: The two met when the actress starred in the musician’s “Only You” video. The rest was history.
The stars began dating in 2005 and got married in a private ceremony in Utah in 2007.
To celebrate their 10th anniversary in 2007, Heigl posted a candid caption about their relationship, writing in part, “I gotta be honest. There have been moments where I didn’t think we’d make it. Where I wanted to take my pillow and smother him in the middle of the night,” she wrote.
“But I’ll tell you what. The more time I spend with this guy the more deeply I begin to understand that he is the best of me. When the whole world falls into disarray and nothing makes sense to me he is my shelter, my safe harbor. When self-doubt and self-loathing creep into my soul he is my champion, my number-one fan.”
The two have three children: Naleigh, whom they welcomed by adoption in 2009 from South Korea, Adalaide Hope whom they welcomed by adoption domestically in 2012 and Joshua, whom they welcomed in 2017.
Jesse Williams & Ciarra Pardo
Sorry everyone, but it appears your favorite Grey Sloan Memorial plastic surgeon, Jesse Williams’ Jackson Avery, is off the market.
The 41-year-old actor and activist was spotted strolling the streets of New York City hand-in-hand with Ciarra Pardo in June 2022.
According to her Instagram bio, Pardo is the co-founder of N4XT Experiences — a premier and global event experience company — and is the current president of L.A. Fashion Week. It’s also worth noting that she served as chief creative officer of Rihanna’s Fenty Corp from 2014 to 2019.
Though it’s not clear how long the two have been an item, several of Pardo’s Instagram Story Highlights showcase the pair having fun on date nights and taking family vacations.
Kate Walsh & Andrew Nixon
The second time is the charm for this recurring Grey’s favorite, who played Addison Montgomery.
Kate Walsh and Andrew Nixon met in an unbelievable way: on a ship just before the COVID-19 pandemic. “We met, as one does, on a NatGeo expedition to Antarctica,” she shared while visiting The Kelly Clarkson Show. Of the trip, she joked, “[Saw the] penguins, check. Ice, check. Whales, check. Man, check.”
Like many of her cast mates, Walsh has kept her relationship off the grid, but she did accidentally reveal she and Nixon were engaged during an Instagram Live with her longtime friend and Private Practice costar Amy Brenneman in October 2022.
“Here comes the jungle cat, that is my fiancé,” Walsh said as Nixon stepped into the camera frame.
Brenneman then told Nixon, “She just 100 percent outed your engagement.”
“I did,” Walsh admitted.
“I just outed our engagement,” she added, to which Nixon simply responded, “Aww.”
Walsh was previously married to studio executive Alex Young. The two divorced in 2010.
James Pickens Jr. & Gina Taylor
Much like Chambers, James Pickens Jr. has had a relationship that for the entire time he’s been playing Dr. Richard Webber on Grey’s.
Though not much information is known about his wife, Gina Taylor is a credited actress, having worked in films such as Deliver Us From Eva, and is featured on soundtracks for The Lion King 1 1/2 as well as Sing Along Songs: Brother Bear, per IMDb.
According to Hollywood Life, the two were married in 1984 and share two children — Gavyn Picken and Carl Tharps.
T.R. Knight & Patrick Leahy
T.R. Knight and has been locked down with his long-term beau, Patrick Leahy, for more than a decade.
The two met in 2010 and got married 2013 in a private wedding ceremony attended by former costars and friends Katherine Heigl and Kate Walsh.
For the 10th anniversary of their meeting in 2020, the actor, who played the beloved George O’Malley on the hit show, posted an adorable couples’ selfie taken by his husband while they were out on a stroll.
“Ten years ago, @bridgeteverett @zshaffer1 and @jasoneagan made meeting this magnificent human possible. My goal for the next ten? Keep trying to deserve him,” Knight wrote under the sweet pic.
He shared the same sentiment under pictures commemorating their ninth wedding anniversary last October, writing, “Nine years ago today Patrick and I married. This is one of my favorites from that day- it sits on my desk. I still strive to deserve him, and carry the hope that one day I may succeed.”
Kelly McCreary & Pete Chatmon
Though married life has been quite the roller coaster for Kelly McCreary’s character, Dr. Maggie Pierce, in real life, that hasn’t been true.
In fact, the show served as the perfect conduit for the actress and her director hubby, Pete Chatmon, as the two met on set.
McCreary and Chatmon got married in an intimate seaside wedding ceremony in 2019 and shared images of their big day with fans on Instagram.
The Chatmons welcomed their first baby, a girl named Indigo Wren, on Oct. 3, 2021.
Chyler Leigh & Nathan West
Chyler Leigh (a.k.a. Lexie Grey) has been married to her husband, Nathan West, since 2002.
In addition to sharing three kids — son Noah Wilde, 19, and daughters Taelyn Leigh, 16 and Aniston Kae, 14, — the two also share a passion for music.
In fact, Leigh made her singing debut in 2017, collaborating with her hubby on a song titled “Nowhere.”
“There’s a lot of times right now with our careers where there’s a lot missed opportunities to be together,” West told PEOPLE of the song’s inspiration.
“We find ourselves going a couple of weeks sometimes without really having a chance just to connect. When I was writing ‘Nowhere,’ that’s what I was thinking about. While I was thinking of her she was thinking of me. It’s special because love knows no boundaries.”
Giacomo Gianniotti & Nichole Gustafson
For their 2019 wedding, Giacomo Gianniotti (Andrew DeLuca) and his bride, Nichole Gustafson, went back to the actor’s place of birth: Rome.
The couple said “I do” at Villa Pocci, which sits on a lake and overlooks Castel Gandolfo, a year after the Grey’s hunk proposed.
And while Gianniotti and Gustafson were keen to start a family, the process has been pretty tough for the couple, who had two miscarriages that resulted in “medical abortions.”
“Even though my suffering can’t be compared to my wife’s suffering, I still suffered,” Gianniotti shared on the Man Enough Podcast hosted by Justin Baldoni, Liz Plank and Jamey Heath. “I still lost two children. Never gonna get to meet them. Never gonna get to know their names. Never gonna get to push them on a swing. I lost that. That’s heavy.”
He continued: “For my wife and I, the trauma was threefold because the first trauma is finding out you’ve lost your child, which is hugely traumatic,” he explained.
“The second trauma is having to go to a medical facility where that child is having to be removed from her body and the finality of that is incredibly traumatizing. The third trauma is having to share this news with your community, loved ones [and] family and friends, and having to relive that trauma through sharing it.”
Jessica Capshaw & Christopher Gavigan
Also very low-key about her private life, actress Jessica Capshaw (Arizona Robbins) married entrepreneur and co-founder of The Honest Company, Christopher Gavigan, in 2004.
The two have four children: son Luke Hudson, whom they welcomed in 2007, and daughters Eve Augusta, whom they welcomed in 2010, Poppy James, who was born in 2012, and Josephine Kate, who joined the family in 2016.
Camilla Luddington & Matthew Alan
Camilla Luddington — who plays Dr. Jo Wilson on the ABC drama — and longtime boyfriend Matthew Alan — of Snowfall, Castle Rock and 13 Reasons Why fame — tied the knot in an intimate California coastline ceremony in 2019.
The dreamy wedding was attended by 70 of their closest friends and family, including Jessica Capshaw.
“We’re just ready to do the damn thing,” she told PEOPLE at the time. “We kind of already feel married because we have a 2-year-old. But there’s something romantic to us about solidifying that family unit by having the ceremony and actually having Hayden present. To be honest, I’m just excited to get into that new normal of married life.”
They welcomed their daughter in 2017 and were engaged in 2018.
Sarah Drew & Peter Lanfer
Long before we knew her as the eccentric April Kepner on Grey’s Anatomy, Sarah Drew was Mrs. Peter Lanfer, and the way her husband courted her was straight out of a Nicholas Sparks novel.
In 2018, she told Us Weekly that Lanfer pursued her in an old-fashioned way.
“We worked at a camp together as camp counselors, and then he wooed me with hand-written letters for eight months before we saw each other again,” she told the publication.
They wed in 2002 and share two children — Micah Emmanuel, 11, and Hannah Mali Rose, 8.
Jason Winston George & Vandana Khanna
Jason Winston George may have made many hearts flutter during his tenure as Ben Warren on Grey’s Anatomy (and Station 19), but in real life, he is very much in love with his wife of 24 years, Vandana Khanna.
So what’s been the secret to their long-lasting marriage?
He told Steve Harvey, “We fight fair. You’re gonna have fights because if you don’t have fights, you’re not being honest. So when you fight, you’ve gotta be fair about it.”
Asked to explain further, George elaborated, saying, “When you settle it, don’t say it’s settled if it’s not, and then bring it up again six months later. When you settle it, it’s settled. Right?”