10+ Random Facts About Patrick Dempsey Fans Didn't Know

Patrick Dempsey's career sure has been super-sized.

It all kicked off with his most iconic role: McDreamy on Grey's Antomy. Since then, he's dipped his toes in different roles, including a stint in rom-coms.

Career aside, there is so much to know about the dreamboat. Things like how he can juggle and how he has a serious need for speed.

1. He was born in Maine.

"Happy in the rain and the snow," he told Men's Health about being a Maine boy at heart.

He lived in a few small towns in inland Maine while he was growing up: Turner and Buckfield and Lewiston.

2. At 12, he was diagnosed with dyslexia.

Sadly, this made him get called slow and lazy in school.

When he became an actor, the stigma followed him and made it difficult for him to run over his lines.

3. He dropped out of school at 17 to pursue acting.

He may have his "medical degree," but Dempsey never got his high school diploma.

He dropped out after he won a talent competition in New York City and landed an agent.

4. He married his best friend's mom at 41.

It sounds like the plot of a movie, but it's not.

Rochelle “Rocky” Parker was an acting coach, manager, and also 27 years older than Dempsey when they got married in 1987 when he was 21.

Not surprisingly, they divorced six years later.

“I got a lot out of it; it made me a much better man,” he once told People.

He admitted that their age gap became an issue. "People wind up going through two different cycles in their lives.”

5. He married a non-celeb.

This puts him in good company with these other celebs.

He's been married to hairdresser, Jillian Dempsey, since 1999.

It all started when the Grey's Anatomy actor booked a haircut at her hair salon.

"I was shocked [when he came in for an appointment] but at the same time, I was happy because he was so cute," Jillian recalled to *People*.

After three years of haircuts and developing a bond, the actor learned that she was single and asked her out. The rest was history.

6. They briefly separated in 2016.

When they reconciled, Patrick revealed the sweetest reason for calling off the divorce.

“Our marriage was not something I was prepared to let go of,” he told People. “I didn’t feel like we had done all the work. And we both wanted to do that work. That’s where it started.”

7. His favorite movie is *Great Expectations* by David Lean.

"I remember it was right before Thanksgiving, I was in seventh grade, and I was going to school in Buckfield, Maine," he told Men's Health.

"They showed a print of this film in the basement, in the cafeteria. It really transported me to that time and place."

8. He was a competition juggler.

Just call him McTalented!

He was so good that he even finished second at the International Jugglers Association Championship as a kid. Juggling even cemented his love of being a performer.

9. He almost wasn't Derek on *Grey's Anatomy*.

It's hard to imagine anyone else in the role, but it was actually Rob Lowe who was offered and passed on it!

After two decades of working as a struggling actor, the role made Patrick a star overnight.

10. He believes that he should have left *Grey's Anatomy* sooner.

He was on the show for 11 seasons before he hung up his scrubs.

“I should have left sooner, a year earlier,” Dempsey told Men's Journal. “I wanted to and I thought about it, but well…the money. I mean, you try turning that down.”

11. He formed his own Dempsey-Proton Racing team in 2006.

He has a serious need for speed.

“I knew I wasn’t getting any younger, and it was now or never,” he said about forming the racing team.

So far, he has spent seasons racing Mazdas, Ferraris, and Porsches on the FIA World Endurance Championship tour.

12. He almost quit acting before he landed *Grey's Anatomy*.

All of the rejection was getting to him at the time.

"Right before Grey's, I was getting to the point where I was thinking, I cannot do another audition and go in and be rejected," he told Men's Health.

13. He did rom-coms to appease *Grey's Anatomy* fans.

The actor starred in two main rom-coms during his time on Greys: Enchanted and Made of Honor.

"There's a core audience who's watching Grey's Anatomy who expects something from you when they go to the box office, so you want to deliver that," he told Men's Health.

14. He didn't exactly support Ellen Pompeo asking for more money from *Greys*.

Since there was a huge discrepancy between their salary when he was on the show, she asked him to negotiate with her for equal pay.

But in the end, he refused.

15. He was incredibly disappointed in Isaiah Washington calling T. R. Knight a gay slur.

"I think it's a sad day, all the way around. It's a shame, a big waste," he told Men's Health, adding that he had his own nose-to-nose altercation with Washington.

"The role of Burke was an extremely important character that is no more. And that's, I think…I think the biggest tragedy."

16. A lot went into that *Grey's Anatomy* McDreamy surprise.

Fans went nuts when Dr. Shepard returned to his wife, Meredith, on the beach in her dream in the Season 17 premiere.

It was actually the show's support of giving masks to healthcare workers that made Dempsey want to return.

He also wanted to spread some joy during these difficult times.

"It came from that place—OK, what can we do to make people feel better, to give some comfort in this time of uncertainty, and that's how it began," he told Deadline.