Adventures of a Midwest Transplant

Grey’s Anatomy Character Ages

I don’t know why my previous post on this topic, from years ago, is so popular, but I decided to bring that information over into a new post so all the updates and edits read a bit clearer. If you want to struggle through the old post feel free.

I am estimating that in this 12th season, the show has covered just under 9 years of real time. This includes a five year surgical residency for the main core cast (of whom only Meredith and Alex are left), then various career paths that add up to just under 4 years of time. Wikia disagrees with me and thinks it’s been just under 5. You can see my detailed explanation of how Meredith spent her time to see exactly how I’m adding it up.

I wrote the original post in December 2011, during Season 8, right after Derek & Meredith officially adopt Zola. At that time, I estimated Meredith to be around 36 years old.

For this update, I’ll also focus on Meredith Grey. I’m going to say more than I will for the other characters, so you get an idea of how I’m tracking the passing time: Her residency class finished residency and became fellows or attendings in the start of Season 9, where Grey is already 3 weeks pregnant with Derek Bailey Shepherd. She has that baby at the end of Season 9. It seems that she carries her baby to almost-if-not-definitely full term, so Season 10 begins 9 months-ish after Season 9.

We’re to a full year later during season 10 when Matt & April almost get married in the Season 10 mid-winter finale. Derek and Meredith struggle through the rest of Season 10, with her realizing she doesn’t need him, but she wants him. Not too long after that is when Derek comes home for a few weeks/months early in Season 11, then dies a few episodes before the Season 11 finale. In those last few episodes of Season 11, 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, returning to her mother’s house in the season finale.

Season 12 starts approximately 3 months after that.  We lost a few months here and there in single jumps due to Penny showing up, Meredith getting attacked in the ER, suddenly April is 12 weeks pregnant, etc. Total time since Dec 2011:  just shy of 4 years (really like 3 years and ten months), so I estimate Meredith Grey to be 40-ish.

Please see below for the character list, mostly transferred over from my previous blog post about this topic.

CURRENT CAST MEMBERS

Ellen Pompeo: plays Meredith Gray; actual age is [46]; character’s age is around 40-ish (completed college at 25, did nothing for 3 or so years, 4 years med school, 5 years surgical residency, just under 2 years attending, just under 1 year “sabbatical”, currently in her 1st year as general surgery chief)

Justin Chambers: plays Alex Karev; actual age is [45]; character’s age is around 35 (completed college at 22, 4 years med school, 5 years surgical residency, 2 years fellowship, few months with Dr. Butthole, currently in his 2nd year as a pediatric surgical attending)

Chandra Wilson: plays Miranda Bailey; actual age is [46]; character’s age is around 41 (completed college at age 24, 4 years med school, 5 years surgical residency, 6 years as attending, currently in her 2nd year as chief of surgery)

James Pickens, Jr.: plays Richard Webber; actual age is [61]; character’s age is around 62 (completed college at age 22, 4 years med school, {1 year residency pre-sleeping with Ellis Grey} + Meredith Grey’s age – 5)

Sara Ramirez: plays Callie Torres; actual age is [40]; character’s age is around 41 (completed college at age 22, 4 years med school, 2 years peace corps, 5 year surgical residency, 6 years as attending, currently in her 2nd year as chief of orthopedic surgery)

Kevin McKidd: plays Owen Hunt; actual age is [42] ; character’s age is around 46 (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, currently in his 2nd year as chief of trauma surgery)

Jessica Capshaw: plays Arizona Robbins; actual age is [39]; character’s age is around 38 (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, currently in her 4th year as pediatric surgery chief, including <12 months accelerated fellowship with Dr. Herman )

Sarah Drew: plays April Kepner; actual age is [35]; character’s age is around 35 (completed college at age 22, 4 years med school, 5 years surgical residency, currently in her 4th year as a trauma surgery attending, including sabbaticals to do some Doctors without Borders type situation for at least 12-15 months total that I can calculate)

Jesse Williams: plays Jackson Avery; actual age is [34]; character’s age is around 35 (completed college at age 22, 4 years med school, 5 years surgical residency, 1-2 years plastic surgery attending, currently in his 2nd year as plastic surgery chief )

Caterina Scorsone: plays Amelia Shepherd; actual age is [34]; character’s age has to be at least 38, more likely 40 (completed college at age 22, 4 years medical school, 5 year surgical residency, 2 year neurosurgical residency, 1-3 years teaching fellow, 2-5 years as neurosurgeon on Private Practice, currently in her 2nd year as neurosurgical chief)

Camilla Luddington: plays Jo Wilson; actual age is [32]; character’s age is 30 (completed college at age 22, 4 years medical school, currently in her 4th year as a surgical resident)

Jerrika Hinton; plays Stephanie Edwards; actual age is [34]; character’s age is 30 (completed college at age 22, 4 years medical school,, currently in her 4th year as a surgical resident)

Kelly McCreary: plays Maggie Pierce; actual age is [34]; character’s age is 32 (completed college at age 17-ish, 3 years medical school, 5 year surgical residency, 3 years cardiothoracic surgical fellowship, 2-3 years cardiothoracic surgical head at some other hospital, currently in her 2nd year as cardiothoracic surgical chief… AND we know her actual birthdate)

Giancomo Gianniotti: plays Andrew DeLuca; actual age is [26]; character’s age is at least 28, no more than 31 (completed high school at age 18, 1-4 years as EMT, 4 years college, 4 years medical school, currently is his 1st year as a surgical intern)

Martin Henderson: plays Nathan Riggs; actual age is [41]; character’s age is anywhere between 44-47 based on time spent with Hunt in med school (completed college at age 22-24, 4 years medical school when he met Hunt, 5 years surgical residency, some time with Hunt as an Army trauma surgeon, some time with Kepner while doing her Doctors without Borders thing, currently in his 1st year as a cardiothoracic attending)

Jason George: plays Ben Warren; actual age is [44]; character’s age is around 38-ish (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, currently in his 4th (I think…) year surgical residency after the transfer home)

OLD CAST MEMBERS

Sandra Oh: played Cristina Yang; actual age is [44]; character’s age is around 36-ish (completed college at 22-ish, somehow completed her PhD and MD in 6 years, she was 28 during her intern year, 5 years surgical residency, 1 year attending, 3rd year as director of hospital in Zurich).

T.R. Knight: played George O’Malley; actual age is [43]; character died at age 29, would be 35 had he lived (completed college at 22, 4 years med school, made it to, but not through his 3rd year of residency).

Katherine Heigl: played Izzie Stevens; actual age is [36]; character left the show at age 30, would be around 35 had she stayed (completed college at 23, 4 years med school, fired during her 3rd year of residency, doing who-the-hell-cares-what is the 6 years since)

Isaiah Washington: played Preston Burke; actual age is [52]; character’s age is 50-something (all they ever mentioned about the character was he is 40-something, and that was during casting, so presumably he’s 50-something as we’re now 9-ish years later in time)

Patrick Dempsey: played Derek Shepherd; actual age is [50]; character died at age 45, would be 47 had he lived (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)

Kate Walsh: played Addison Montgomery; actual age is [48]; character’s age is around 48 (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 8 finale of Grey’s Anatomy in 2006, which matches her supposed birth year of 1967, and technically another 7 years have passed in time since that season which was basically residency year 2, sooooooo weird timing there, just ignore it) [also, I’m not considering her character as really gone from the show, she could come back for a crazy surgery to assist Arizona at any time, it could happen people!]

Eric Dane: played Mark Sloan; actual age is [43] character died at age 44, would be 48 had he lived (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)

Brooke Smith: played Erica Hahn; actual age is [48]; they never quite got around to her age, but I estimate her as 50-something (completed college around age 22, 4 years med school, 5 year surgical residency, and she was in the same year of school as Preston Burke).

Chyler Leigh: played Lexie Grey; actual age is [34]; character died at age 27, would be 31 had she lived (completed college at age 19, 4 years med school, made it to but not through 4th year surgical residency).

Kim Raver: played Teddy Altman; actual age is [47]; they don’t say her age, but her character was at least 40 when she left the show, would be 45 had she stayed (completed college at age 22, 4 years med school, 5 year surgical residency, 2 years fellowship, joined Army after 9/11/01)

Gaius Charles: played Shane Ross; actual age is [32]; character’s age is completely a guess at 30 (completed college at age 22, 4 years medical school 2+ years surgical residency at Seattle Grace before leaving with Yang, currently in his 4th year of surgical residency at the Klausman Institute for Medical Research)

Tess Ferrer: played Leah Murphy; actual age is [30]; character’s age is a guess at 28 (they identified her birth year as 1987, which makes her four years younger than Pierce, so she completed college at age 21-ish, 4 years medical school, fired during her 2nd-ish year of surgical residency, hopefully working in that research Webber sent her to since then)

 

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7 responses

  1. Grey’s Anatomy is a good show and I watch it whenever I happen to catch it on TV. As much as I enjoy the show I guess I don’t enjoy it enough to make an effort to follow it consistently so when I do catch an episode and there are new characters or interesting plot lines that I didn’t see coming I rely on Wikipedia to fill me in. LOL.
    I always knew Meredith was older than the other interns that started with her because I knew she was a party girl in college and there was a period before med school where she didn’t do anything but I didn’t realise she was older by that much. Also, has it really been 7 years since April and Avery joined the show already? I remember the episode when everyone learned April was a 28 year old virgin and if she’s estimated to be 35 now then about 7 years has passed in the show since then. Time flies by fast, even in TV!

    April 20, 2016 at 08:34

    • Time does fly, but to be fair, they skipped a few years here and there. Whenever Meredith gets pregnant, time just jumps ahead. April’s engagement to the hot EMT who used to be on 7th Heaven was another time jump.

      April 24, 2016 at 09:25

  2. Old as Hell Debb

    Old as hell ?? Just rude. You’ll be lucky to get to be “old as Hell”

    May 14, 2016 at 12:10

    • I agree, most of my family lives a long time, and those who don’t, it’s always very sad. The article I titled 5 years ago is definitely a sign of my youth at the time. The fact that I haven’t changed the article, and work so hard to highlight new edits is a sign of my integrity at this time.

      May 16, 2016 at 14:40

  3. erikaravazzolo15

    Lol I read the older article and the Patrick Dempsey thing happened to me as well!! I was so sure they were gonna save him, then I looked it up and was like “oh oh… noooo!!!”
    I’m watching again all the seasons and I’m starting now the plane crash episode. I am not ready to live all that again 😦

    June 5, 2016 at 09:46

    • I’ve never watched Season 1. When I finally started watching, I found Izzy and George insufferable. And the Alex Karev I now feel is the heart of the show was just ugh back then. But at some point, I will do what you’re doing and start from the beginning.

      *sends tissues for the plain crash episode* Oh Lexie, oh Derek’s hand…

      June 5, 2016 at 10:36

  4. Marissa

    I think you have Meredith’s age wrong. She is 6 years older than Maggie, so Mere should be 38 years old. There is no evidence that she took 3 years off after college. She went to Europe for an summer, but not a few years.

    June 23, 2016 at 18:11