Ellen Pompeo Reveals the Word She Wasn’t Allowed to Say on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ in Season 1

Ellen Pompeo is opening up about the history of Grey’s Anatomy in a new interview following the show’s shocking season 17 premiere.

The actress, who plays Meredith Grey, appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live following the premiere on Thursday night (November 12).

Ellen revealed that in season one, ABC wouldn’t let her and cast members say the word “vagina,” though there was no issue with the word “penis.”

“There was a big fight — I may be butchering this story but — there was a big fight because with standards and practices, which I’m sure you deal with on occasion, you can say ‘penis,’ but you couldn’t say ‘vagina,’ at the time,” Ellen said in the interview.

She continued, “And that’s why … That’s where the term ‘va-jay-jay’ came from. [Shonda Rhimes] made up ‘va-jay-jay’ because standards and practices would not let us say ‘vagina.’ And Shonda‘s argument was like, ‘We said “penis” in that episode 97 times. You can say “penis” 97 times but you can’t say “vagina”?’”

“They were like, ‘Yep, yep, you can’t say “vagina.”‘ So she came up with ‘va-jay-jay’ and that’s how that problem was solved,” Ellen said.

Learn more about the shocking twist from the latest Grey’s Anatomy episode.

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