- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
For "Grey's Anatomy" heartthrob Patrick Dempsey, being crowned People's Sexiest Man Alive has been a long time coming.
"I've been the bridesmaid for People Sexiest Man Alive 10 times. Now I get the big picture, not the little picture that's on the side [of the People magazine cover]," Dempsey said in his Sexiest Man Alive interview.
Dempsey, a Maine native, broke out in 2005 as neurosurgeon Dr. Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd in Shonda Rhimes' long-running ABC medical drama. He starred alongside Ellen Pompeo.
In 2006 and 2007, Dempsey, now 57, was among the scores of male celebrities featured in People's annual "Sexiest Man Alive" issue, but never the cover star. It's one of the reasons he said he couldn't believe the honor at first.
"'This is a joke, right?'" Dempsey recalled about his reaction to the title. He added that he has kept his family in the dark about the honor, but that they'll most likely poke fun at him.
"It's nice to have the recognition, it's fun but I think it gives me a platform to actually talk about the Dempsey Center and the type of work we're doing there," he said. In 2008, the "Enchanted" star founded a center to help improve the lives of people affected by cancer.
With the People honor, Dempsey added that "certainly my ego takes a nice little bump."
On Tuesday evening, Jimmy Kimmel revealed that Dempsey was the newest Sexiest Man Alive cover star. For the late-night host, Dempsey's honor was "like uncorking a bottle of fine wine.
"They decided to wait till just the right year. Now, next year, you'll be a mess, on the downslide," Kimmel joked.
Since his dramatic "Grey's Anatomy" send-off in 2015, Dempsey shifted his focus to a variety of Hollywood projects including the Sky TV series "Devils," and the Disney+ "Enchanted" sequel, "Disenchanted." In 2021, he returned to "Grey's" briefly as Pompeo's Meredith battled COVID-19.
Later this year, Dempsey will star in the biopic "Ferrari" and the holiday thriller "Thanksgiving."
Read more: Patrick Dempsey: Life in pictures
Beyond Hollywood, Dempsey is also a professional race car driver. Since beginning his racing career in 2009, he has driven in competitions including 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA World Endurance Championship.
After years of snubs, the actor can now proudly say, "My name is Patrick Dempsey and finally I am this year's People's Sexiest Man Alive — for the next ten years."
He joked: "I don't know why there should be anybody after me, to be honest with you. This is it, this is the end of it. It has been a great run for People."
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.