Ellen Pompeo on how turning 50 is empowering: 'You literally don't give a f***'

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Ellen Pompeo arrives at the fifth annual InStyle Awards at the Getty Center in Los Angeles on Oct. 21, 2019. (Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images)
Ellen Pompeo arrives at the fifth annual InStyle Awards at the Getty Center in Los Angeles on Oct. 21, 2019. (Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images)

Ellen Pompeo says there’s a certain magic that comes with age.

On InStyle’s podcast Ladies First With Laura Brown, the Grey’s Anatomy actress explained how waking up on her 50th birthday filled her with a sense of confidence that she had not experienced before.

"I think there's something that just hits you when you turn 50 where you literally don't give a f***,” she said. “I mean, you just honestly can’t believe it. You’re like, ‘What is that number? How did it happen?’”

She added that each decade comes with its own challenges.

“So many women have said this,” Pompeo noted. “You spend your whole 20s criticizing yourself, comparing yourself to other women, thinking you're not good enough. Then in your 30s, you're sort of still doing that a little bit and figuring it out. The 40s, you really start to feel yourself, and right when you start feeling yourself in your 40s [come the] 50s.”

Despite the whole “not giving a f***” thing, Pompeo acknowledged that there are some downsides to turning the big 5-0.

"You're like, 'Oh my goodness. Don't leave me. Youth, skin, come back,’” she explained. “Life is really quite cruel, actually. When you think about it, youth is wasted on the young."

Pompeo may be nostalgic about her younger days, but she’s certainly thriving at 51. The TV star, who is also an executive producer on her hit ABC medical drama, is making major money to portray Dr. Meredith Grey. She reportedly earns more than $575,000 per episode and said her age helped her feel comfortable asking for that hefty paycheck.

She told the Hollywood Reporter in 2018, “I’m 48 now, so I’ve finally gotten to the place where I’m okay asking for what I deserve, which is something that comes only with age.”