Ellen Pompeo felt "miserable" watching herself age on television.

Ellen Pompeo

Ellen Pompeo

The 46-year-old 'Grey's Anatomy' actress - who was cast as Dr. Meredith Grey in 2005 - has admitted she stayed on the in the American drama series for so long because she feared she wouldn't be cast in other roles because of her age, and now dreads seeing how she has changed during her 11 years on the show.

She told People magazine: "Watching myself age on TV is miserable. To be honest, it's the toughest part of my job.

"My decision to stay on 'Grey's' was based solely on age.

"At 33, I was wise enough to know my clock was already ticking in Hollywood. I was definitely aware of how challenging it would be to find other roles in my late 30s and early 40s."

However, Ellen doesn't want to be troubled too much by her appearance as looking older is a normal part of life..

She said: "But as uncomfortable as watching myself age is, I don't think focusing on physical beauty is necessarily the best thing for your mind. It's a natural thing that we all do, but I don't think it's the healthiest thing. The older you get, the more you realise life isn't about your looks. Everyone ages, and it's OK."

Meanwhile, Ellen - who has daughters Stella, six, and two-year-old Sienna with her husband Chris Ivery - has revealed she would have liked to have time to have explored other career paths if she hadn't got her big break later in life, though she has no regrets about staying on 'Grey's Anatomy'.

She explained: "[I had a] super late start.

"I probably would have done my time, then gone out to search for other things.

"I thought, 'Why would I leave something that is super successful and pays me great to search the landscape?' I decided that I would stay on 'Grey's' and be grateful and try to ride it out for as long as I could. And I am very happy that I made the decision to stay. It's only gotten better with time."

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