Why Rob Lowe Is Glad He Passed on Patrick Dempsey's 'Grey's Anatomy' Role

The actor turned down a part in the ABC medical drama in order to star in the short-lived Dr. Vegas

Photo: Noel Vasquez/Getty; Karen Neal/ABC via Getty

Rob Lowe has no regrets when it comes to his decades-long career.

In a new interview with Variety, the actor opened up about his decision to pass on the role of Dr. Derek Shepherd on Grey's Anatomy, saying everything worked out the way it was supposed to.

"This is what longevity, experience and recovery give you. There are no accidents," he said. "Whatever decision you come to, if you come to it from the right place, it's never wrong."

At the time, Lowe turned down the role in the ABC medical drama in order to star in the short-lived Dr. Vegas. As Grey's fans know, Patrick Dempsey was ultimately cast as Dr. Shepherd, a.k.a. "McDreamy." He played the part from 2005 to 2015, when his character died in a tragic car crash in season 11.

And Lowe, 56, firmly believes Dempsey, 55, was the better choice.

"Me in that part isn't as interesting as Patrick in that part," he said. "If it'd been me [the fans] wouldn't have called me 'McDreamy,' they would have called me Rob Lowe."


Looking back, Lowe said he's thankful he passed on the series because of the other opportunities he was later able to jump on.

"Had I done Grey's, I wouldn't have been in Parks and Recreation," he added. "That alone for me is enough."

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During a 2019 appearance on WTF With Marc Maron, Lowe joked that skipping out on Grey's Anatomy "probably cost me $70 million."

"Listen, at the end of the day, I watched it when it came out," he said. "And when they started calling the handsome doctor 'McDreamy,' I was like, 'Yeah, that's not for me.'"

Dempsey recently reprised his role during the season 17 premiere in November, appearing during one of Meredith's (Ellen Pompeo) dreams while she battled a severe case of COVID-19.

Grey's Anatomy returns March 11 on ABC.

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