Everyone on Grey’s Anatomy Is Old As Hell!! Updated 4/19/16
UPDATED 04/19/16: I’m removing the characters I never calculated the ages for, and merging information for characters into a new post.
UPDATED 10/24/15: For some reason, this post is getting a lot of views, so I’m updating it with what I know, and including the newer characters. At this point, I’m writing this a few days after Season 12 episode 5 airs. [Edits are able to be seen by their presence inside these bracket thingees.]
A quick recap of how I’m counting time for this latest update focusing on Meredith Grey: Her residency class finished residency and became fellows or attendings in the start of Season 9, where Grey is already 3 weeks pregnant. It seems that she carries her baby to almost-if-not-definitely full term, so Season 10 begins 9 months-ish later. We’re to a full year later during season 10 when Matt & April almost get married. Her pregnancy carries into Season 11, where they induce labor at what looks to be about 6 months of pregnancy. Not too long after that is when Derek comes home for a weeks/months, then dies, and Meredith is gone for the length of a full term pregnancy, let’s just say 9 months because it obviously take a while to find out she’s pregnant. Total time 3 years and some change, 2-3 months
UPDATED 04/02/15: It’s not clear looking at this post today, but I just want to remind everyone that I wrote this in December of 2011. So if you’re reading this in the spring of 2015, add 3-4 years to everyone’s ages.
Sometimes at work, there are lulls. Occasionally, I fill the time by reading Wikipedia. That involves starting somewhere like with a movie or television show that has an ensemble cast and going from link to link reading interesting things. Without playing 53 degrees of separation (which is a real thing when it comes to Wikipedia), I will say that I started with Revenge, the new show on ABC, and ended up looking up Ginnifer Goodwin’s filmography.
I will love you forever if you can make that connection. But by looking at her filmography, I got to the movie Ramona and Beezus, which I didn’t see, but includes Sandra Oh in the cast. I remember her from the movie The Princess Diaries and I remembered I’ve always wondered how old she is. 40! She plays a resident, but she’s 40.
Then I got suspicious. I started looking up all the characters. They’re [almost] all old as hell. Katherine Heigl is still in her thirties, but of course she isn’t still on the show. It’s not fair to call them old as hell because they’re not, but they’re just… much older than the characters they play.
Age comes into play a lot on this show. Teddy’s husband was being ridiculed for wanting to go to med school, old as he is, but his wife on the show actually has three years on him in real life. Hell, Meredith and Cristina are both older than him in real life. It’s mind boggling. Poor Kate Walsh, who’s only two years older than Ellen Pompeo, but she got sent to a show with the old folks because she actually looks her age.
This is quite the mind-fuck for me. Not very many characters on this show are being played by an actor that’s even close to the right age besides Patrick Dempsey. Even Eric Dane is years younger than his character. I’m going to stop rambling and just lay it out there. [the years in the show pass slower than real life years, at least as far as I can tell from doing the math based on events that happen, so a lot of the actors have less of an age difference with their characters now.]
Ellen Pompeo: plays Meredith Gray; actual age is ; character’s age is around 37-ish (completed college at 25, did nothing for 3 or so years, 4 years med school, [5 years surgical resident, 2 years attending, 1 year “sabbatical”, 1st year general surgery chief]). [Age as of late 2015: 40-ish. This is after starting her attending years, has baby #2, then goes through Derek’s whole deal with the White House research, then his death and baby #3. Can I just say how crazy cool it is that this woman with a “hostile uterus” is able to give birth to two children at the age she did.]
Sandra Oh: plays Cristina Yang; actual age is ; character’s age is around 35-ish (completed college at 22, Ph.D. for 4 or so years, 4 years med school, [5 years surgical resident, 1 year attending, 2nd year as director of hospital in Zurich]). [Age as of late 2015: 38-ish. Miss her.]
Katherine Heigl: played Izzie Stevens; actual age is ; character’s age would be around 32 (completed college at 23, 4 years med school, would have been [5 years surgical resident, 3rd year doing who cares what]). Like I said, the only one who would be the right age is gone. [Age as of late 2015: 35. Don’t miss her.]
Justin Chambers: plays Alex Karev; actual age is ; character’s age is around 31 (completed college at 22, 4 years med school, [5 years surgical resident, 2 years fellowship, few months with Dr. Butthole, 1st year attending] ). [Age as of late 2015: 34. It’s crazy that the actor was 35 when the show started and now, 10.5 years later, his character is just catching up. But it’s not the actor’s fault that in 10 years and 12 seasons, they’ve only covered 8 years and some change.]
T.R. Knight: played George O’Malley; actual age is ; character’s age would have been around 31 (completed college at 22, 4 years med school, [made it to, but not through his 3rd year of residency]).[Age as of late 2015: Character died at age 29.]
Chandra Wilson: plays Miranda Bailey; actual age is ; character’s age is around 37 (completed college at age 24, 4 years med school, 5 years surgical residency, [6 years as attending, 1st year as surgery chief]). [Age as of late 2015: 40]
James Pickens, Jr.: plays Richard Webber; actual age is ; character’s age is around 59 (completed college at age 22, 4 years med school, 1 year residency pre-sleeping with Ellis Grey + Meredith Grey’s age – 5). We have a winner for age correctness and still on the show! [Age as of late 2015: around 62, now the age difference between actor and character is even less, whoo!]
Kate Walsh: plays Addison Montgomery; actual age is ; character’s age is around 43 (completed college at 22, 6 years college + phD program, 4 years med school, 5 year surgical residency, and some other stuff, but she was 39 in the season 3 finale of Grey’s Anatomy (which covered 4.5 years of time in 8 seasons).[Age as of late 2015: 46-ish. Really miss her, and Private Practice, she ought to come back for another difficult surgery. Or better yet, to learn form Arizona!]
Sara Ramirez: plays Callie Torres; actual age is ; character’s age is around 37 (completed college at age 22, 4 years med school, 2 years peace corps, 5 year surgical residency, [5 years as attending, 2nd year as chief of Ortho]). [Age as of late 2015: 40. Her daughter was born heading into Meredith’s last year as resident. which means Sofia is only coming up on her fourth birthday, but that kid looks older than that, right?]
Eric Dane: plays Mark Sloan; actual age is  character’s age [would’ve been around 45] (completed college at age 22, 4 years med school, 5 year surgical residency, basically the same age as Derek and Addison, he ad Derek were friends as kids). [Age as of late 2015: deceased at age 43, so damn sad about this one, I would pay to see him being a father to Sofia.]
Chyler Leigh: plays Lexie Grey; actual age is ; character’s age [would’ve been 30] (completed college at age 19, 4 years med school, [made it to but not through 5th year surgical residency]). [Age as of late 2015: deceased at age 28. I love Maggie, but at this point I’ve got my fingers crossed that family members of Meredith’s stop showing up; it only ever ends one way.]
Brooke Smith: plays Erica Hahn; actual age is ; they never quite get around to her age, but she’s at least 31 (completed college at age 22, 4 years med school, 5 year surgical residency, and she was in the same year of school as Preston Burke). [Age as of late 2015: mid 40s, a much more accurate guess than I had before because we know she’s in the age range of Preston Burke].
Kevin McKidd: plays Owen Hunt; actual age is  ; character’s age is around 45 (completed college at age 23, 4 years med school, 5 year surgical residency, joined the Army after 9/11/01, discharged in 2008, 4 years as attending, 1-ish year chief of surgery, 1st year chief of trauma surgery]). [Age as of late 2015: around 48]
Jessica Capshaw: plays Arizona Robbins; actual age is ; they never quite get around to her age, but she’s at least 31 (completed college at age 22, 4 years med school, 5 year surgical residency, [2-3 years that we know of at Seattle Grace as an attending, 3rd year as pediatric surgery chief, including <12 months accelerated fellowship with Dr. Herman ). [Age as of late 2015: 42, what voodoo do these doctors have access to where they are casually deciding to have all these babies at their age? 41 isn’t old, but there are so many increased risks and Arizona has a long history of freaking all the way out when stuff gets tough, so I’m surprised it seemed like an easy decision for her to try to carry the baby instead of using a surrogate on the first attempt.]
Kim Raver: plays Teddy Altman; actual age is ; they don’t say her age, but her character’s age is at least 43 (completed college at age 22, 4 years med school, 5 year surgical residency, 2 years fellowship, joined Army after 9/11/01). [Age as of late 2015: at least 46, I miss her too, though it was clear. I wonder if she found love again, and I’m hoping she got a kick ass job as cardio chief at another hospital.]
Sarah Drew: plays April Kepner; actual age is ; character’s age is around 31 (completed college at age 22, 4 years med school, [5 years surgical resident, 3rd year attending, including sabbaticals to do some Doctors without Borders type situation for months at a time]). [Age as of late 2015: 34]
Jesse Williams: plays Jackson Avery; actual age is ; character’s age is around 31 (completed college at age 22, 4 years med school, 5 years surgical resident, 1-2 year attending, 1-2 years into being plastics chief (after Mark died)]). [Age as of late 2015: 34]
Isaiah Washington: plays Preston Burke; actual age is ; all they ever mention about the character is he is 40-something. [Age as of late 2015: gotta be mid-40s by now].
Patrick Dempsey: plays Derek Shepherd; actual age is ; character’s age [would’ve been around 46] (completed college at age 22, 4 years medical school, then got married in 1994, 5 year surgical residency, fellowship , etc.) [Age as of late 2015: deceased at age 45-ish. Totally unrelated, I didn’t know Dempsey was leaving the show for reals, so I got no emotional payout from his death, I literally believed none of it until after the episode ended and his heartbeat didn’t spontaneously start again on it’s own and then I googled him and found out. #viewerfail]
Jason George: plays Ben Warren; actual age is 43; character’s age is around 37 (completed college at age 22, 4 years medical school, 4 year anesthesia residency, came to Seattle Grace from Mercy West as an attending, so let’s say he was an attending for 2-ish years, then attending at Seattle Grace for 2 years, 1 year surgical residency at UCLA, now in his 3rd year surgical residency after the transfer home), but likely older depending on how long he was at Mercy West.
I had to take some guesses on some of their ages based on character information available, but [so much of ]this cast is a walking ad for taking care of your skin. And also proof that you shouldn’t look too deep into a show. But two people caught my eye as being way older than I expected (thanks, Sandra Oh and Ellen Pompeo), and it was downhill from there. Downhill from over the hill, that is.
Have you ever been way too obsessed with something? Seriously, I’ve been working on this blog post since November 11th, 2011. I need a new hobby.