February 23, 2010 05:00 PM

LuMar Jr. /JpegFoto /AFF American Foto Features

Continued success on the hit show Grey’s Anatomy, a happy marriage, and a new baby is the recipe for living a fulfilled life for Ellen Pompeo. “I am over the moon,” the actress, who recently appeared on the cover of TV Guide, raves.

“Happiness is not that easy to achieve, but having a handsome husband, a beautiful baby, and a great job helps.”

And for Ellen, the latter two went hand-in-hand when it came to her pregnancy. Hiding her baby bump behind medical files and hospital blankets, the actress forewent an extended maternity leave — taking only a month off — and instead appeared in each episode of the show.

When she did find herself with time on her hands, Ellen, hit the gym often. “I only gained one jeans size,” she notes.

That said, she balanced out her exercise routines — which she has continued, in addition to breastfeeding, to shed the pounds since the birth of Stella Luna, 5 months — with a daily intake of chocolate ice-cream and time spent watching her favorite shows. Her dedication to staying fit has allowed her to keep up with baby girl. “I have energy and more strength, which I need because that baby is getting heavy,” she laughs.

Keeping her belly under wraps was a breeze compared to the tough task of leaving Stella behind when she is on set. “It’s hard to leave an infant,” she muses. “Everything in your gut goes against that. Being a mother is the most fun job I’ve ever had.”

Fortunately, her ability to have it all — a successful career and a baby — is not a coincidence, Ellen, 40, notes.

“Career women tend to get pregnant late, and I have to say I would never have done it any other way. I have the best of both worlds and I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything.”

Click below for more from Ellen on her “little chicken nugget.”

Clearly smitten with first-time motherhood, Ellen reveals that Stella is “a good mix” of herself and her husband Chris Ivery. “She’s like a little chicken nugget,” she says. “You just want to dip her in sauce and nibble on her.”

The separation of mother and daughter will be short-lived — Ellen’s contract promises two more seasons, and once her time is up, she plans to leave Grey’s Anatomy for greener pastures. The actress is already looking forward to what the future holds.

“I will raise my daughter, buy a house in Italy, learn Italian and teach it to my daughter,” she predicts. “I love buying houses and redoing them, and I’ll have that and my wonderful husband and my baby.”

And if her parents are any indication of how Stella’s personality will unfold, Ellen foresees having a spitfire on her hands!

“She’s going to have a real personality because Chris and I are both such characters,” she confesses. “You know, Boston people are full of sauce.”

Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursday nights at 9 p.m. on ABC.

Source: TV Guide

— Anya

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