They say that art imitates life, but isn’t it convenient that Ellen Pompeo, star of Grey’s Anatomy, has three kids both off and on screen? Her character, Meredith Grey, has one son and two daughters, while off-screen Ellen has the same.
Of course, on the show, Meredith has one adopted daughter, one son born to her and Derek, and a third child—a daughter named for her mother—who was born after Derek’s passing. On set, mom Meredith often struggles with her mental health and staying present with her kids while still excelling in her professional life. Especially after Derek’s passing, life becomes even harder as both a mom and a doctor.
But in real life, all three of Ellen’s kiddos are her biological children, though their birth stories are anything but traditional. Fortunately, Ellen hasn’t had the same kind of parenting experience as Meredith—and she’s still happily married to her very-alive husband Chris. The pair’s three kids are Stella, Sienna, and Eli. The eldest, Stella, was born in 2009. Then, in 2014, Sienna arrived, followed by Eli in 2016.
Beyond how they were born, there’s plenty more to know about Ellen Pompeo’s kiddos and her family’s life together just outside the spotlight.
20 She Birthed The First…
Ellen and her now hubby Chris Ivery met in 2003 and were married in an informal ceremony in 2007. Their first child, a daughter named Stella, was born in 2009. Back then, she did an interview with E! Online where she talked about how tough motherhood was. In the same sentence, though, Ellen shared that although she felt pulled in multiple directions as a mom, she felt lucky to have the life she had and the child she was blessed with. Of course, she did take some time off to be with Stella after her arrival, and it’s clear they have remained close as their family grew.
19 … And A Surrogate Delivered The Second
Ellen kept the news about her second-born child quiet for a couple of months, giving a shout-out to her cast members on Grey’s for helping her keep a low profile. But she did share an IG post welcoming her second daughter, and she later revealed that Sienna arrived thanks to a gracious surrogate. On Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Ellen explained the surrogacy process and how grateful she was to the surrogate, whose identity she didn’t reveal. While she said she kept the new baby under wraps to secure the anonymous lady’s privacy, she hasn’t said much else about welcoming Sienna, except for the tot’s growing personality as she gets older.
18 No Word On Baby Number Three
Now mom of three kiddos, Ellen didn’t reveal that she was expecting her third child—she just popped up on social media with a snapshot. And people speculate that the reason she didn’t tell anyone sooner is that baby Eli arrived via surrogate as well. However, that hasn’t been confirmed—although Ellen didn’t appear to be pregnant when she was photographed by paparazzi while on vacation shortly prior to welcoming Eli. Maybe time will tell, though—and Eli is already a toddler at this point, so maybe now that the newness has worn off, Ellen will spill the details about his arrival!
17 Plenty Of Pre-Planning
Clearly, Ellen and Chris planned their family together. And it seems like they were destined from the start, according to Ellen herself. She has said that there were only “six degrees” of separation between she and Chris their entire lives, so when they met in a grocery store, it wasn’t surprising that they wound up dating and getting married. Of course, they felt the same way about having a family—it was just meant to be. So the pair planned baby Stella, and obviously, they planned their next two kiddos just as carefully. And even though Ellen wasn’t spotted baby shopping with the last two kiddos like she was with Stella, that doesn’t mean she wasn’t well-prepared!
16 Enjoying Married Life Before Kids
In multiple interviews, Ellen has talked about her and Chris’ marriage and how much adventuring and fun they’ve had together. Right before they welcomed Stella, back in 2008, Ellen told Allure magazine how happy they were to be having a child. After all, they had plenty of time to enjoy their married life before welcoming a baby, and they spent it jetting to Europe, staying up all night and sleeping in late, and enjoying one another’s company. Clearly, the pair were intentional about their time together as well as planning for time with their kiddos once they arrived. Unlike Meredith Grey, it seems like Ellen has essentially mastered the whole work-life balance thing.
15 Ellen Is Private On Purpose
There’s not a whole lot that Ellen shares with the world about her kiddos, and hubby Chris is similarly silent. Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few trickles of details coming from social media. But in general, Ellen’s not the type of mom to showcase her children online. And part of that might be because of the comments she’s had from the press. In the past, people have speculated that Ellen is too thin, suggesting that she’s not a good role model for young women and girls. Clearly, Ellen would prefer for her and her children to stay out of the spotlight rather than deal with negativity and rumors.
14 It’s About More Than Her Kids
A committed and passionate mama, actress, and activist, Ellen does share on social media about her political stance and her intent to act when it comes to helping children all over the world. She’s shared on her IG account about raising money for charities that care for wildlife, plus children from South America transitioning to the United States and seeking refugee status. She’s caught some heat from critics, but that hasn’t stopped Ellen from promoting causes that are close to her heart as a mama. She also shares cute snaps on IG encouraging her followers to shop kids’ clothing and other companies that support charity efforts.
13 Her Kids Are Diverse And Proud
If it’s not clear already, Ellen Pompeo’s children are absolutely gorgeous. And it’s thanks, in part, to Ellen’s looks, of course. But her babies’ beautiful hair and skin? That’s pretty much all dad. But Ellen is quick to point out that the future is diverse, and that her kids are part of the upcoming generation that will change the world. And during a time when society seems split on accepting people with their cultural and natural style—like her girls’ adorable afros—Ellen embraces her children’s beauty as well as their nature-given good looks! There’s obviously no eyebrow waxing or contouring happening with her gals, either.
12 Dad Is Baby’s Best Friend
When Ellen shared this photo to her IG account, she commented that unfortunately for her hubby, he’s not been knocked down a notch! This was her announcement for baby Eli’s arrival, but it’s evident from that photo—and every photo of daddy since—that he totally dotes on all three of his kiddos. And while Ellen’s usually the one snapping and sharing the few images she posts online, Chris is often in the shots, or at least gets credit in the captions. The two seem to be entirely in love and totally hands-on with their kids, and it’s inspiring in a world of celeb parents whose kids hardly see them.
11 Traveling The World With Tots In Tow
Their parents might be doing a good job of keeping them out of the spotlight, but that doesn’t mean that Stella, Sienna, and Eli are your average kids. They’re still celebrity children, so that means jetting off to Italy with mom and dad whenever the mood strikes. Of course, both mom and dad likely have work to get done in various locations, what with Ellen being a producer in TV and Chris working in the music industry. Whether it’s ice cream in Italy or just a trip to NYC for a special someone’s fourth birthday, these kids are no strangers to traveling the world.
10 They Do Regular Family Stuff… Sorta
It seems like Ellen is really focused on making sure her kids—and her daughters, especially—learn their own worth and pay attention to what’s important. For her and Chris, for example, it’s their work and having their own interests outside of their relationship and their identities as parents. For now, though, since the kids are young, they’re concentrating on spending time together and outside of the spotlight. Like having ice cream or going out to eat, or even just staying at home and hanging out. Although, sometimes they have special jobs—like Sienna’s being mom’s “bodyguard” during one trip to Italy.
9 Stella, Queen Of Pint-Sized Sass
Ellen’s not one to hop on social media much, but she did post on IG that Stella was super sassy from a young age. From a shot of Stella perched on her tricycle to one of her making faces at her mama, there’s a whole lot of attitude in a small package. Unfortunately for fans of the family, Ellen’s pics and videos of her kids are few and far between, but you can catch glimpses of Stella’s personality in the ones her mom has made public. We’re pretty sure Ellen’s to blame for the sass, though. After all, she prides herself on raising strong women, so it’s got to start early!
8 Mom’s Little Helper
Although Stella, as the oldest, was probably Ellen’s most challenging kiddo, she’s sort of made up for it. In interviews, Ellen gushes over how great of a big sister Stella has been to her younger siblings. And although things aren’t always perfect—being a mama is stressful no matter what—Ellen constantly talks about how strong and able her girls are. Plus, they even help around the house—Ellen has posted videos on IG that show the girls helping clean up, mopping and sweeping—proving that her kids are anything but spoiled! And it’s a good thing, because Ellen expects them to one day have their own jobs and professional goals—no lazy ladies here.
7 The Fam Has Playdates With Other Celeb Kids
Although things may have changed as far as Ellen’s celebrity affiliations these days, when Stella was a baby, she had a playdate with none other than Nicole Richie’s kiddos. Of course, not long ago Ellen was sharing an IG post about an event Nicole was at, so we can assume the pair are still close. But when Stella toddled around the park playing with Nicole’s kids, Harlow and Sparrow, it was absolutely adorable. Ellen is also friends with celebs like Taylor Swift and Drake, but of course, neither of those superstars have had babies yet! Future playdates though? We sure hope so.
6 ...And They Loved Basketball
While there aren’t a lot of shots of the Ivery-Pompeo family out and about as they’re relatively private, there’s one place they tend to go frequently. And that’s courtside at basketball games! From pre-baby to post-third-child, Ellen and Chris enjoy catching basketball games fairly frequently. So it makes sense that not only did Stella tag along when she was a tot, but now baby brother Eli gets to go along, too. Obviously the whole family has a thing for basketball, but no word yet on whether any of the kids like to play it as well as watch from the sidelines.
5 The Kids Attend Birthday Parties—In Public!
If you haven’t noticed already, Ellen keeps her kids under wrap for the most part. But you may also have noticed that she’s pretty down to earth, especially when it comes to her parenting. She’s teaching her kids to be strong and responsible, but she’s also not averse to showing them a good time. And apparently, that includes attending birthday parties with friends, even if the paparazzi show up and follow them as they’re leaving. And sure, it probably got tougher for Ellen the more Grey’s Anatomy picked up a fan following, but that didn’t keep her from stepping out to ensure her kiddo has fun… And some cake.
4 Mini Foodies In The Fam
Traveling to Italy for work or just a vacation is great, but there are two things you can’t pass up if you’re Ellen Pompeo’s kids: gelato and pasta. Not only did Ellen share a snap of Sienna enjoying a cone of gelato in Italy, but she also shared this pic of Eli wearing his noodles at a restaurant. With so few images out of baby Eli, it’s so fun to see him slurping up noodles and being a mini foodie just like his sisters. He might only be a baby, but he’s already got great taste in food (and vacation locations).
3 Birthdays Are A Big Deal
This super twirly and sweet shot of Sienna captures the tot on her fourth birthday. She was celebrating real big in New York City, according to Ellen’s post on IG about the trip, but it’s possible that wasn’t the family’s sole reason for hitting the big apple. Of course, celebrities jet set wherever they want whenever they want, and if little Sienna said she wanted to go to the big city for her birthday, who’s going to say no to this little firecracker? Then again, all of Chris and Ellen’s kids are learning about hard work from mom and dad—so they can learn to party hard, too.
2 They Have To Try Everything Once
In an interview with InStyle, Ellen told the interviewer that she helps her kids to become confident by involving them in lots of things. From working hard on their math homework to trying out horseback riding or a new sport, she pushes them to try things to build their confidence. From swimming to jumping rope to dancing to playing soccer, her kids have tried lots of activities and learned how limitless their own abilities can be. And as Ellen points out, even when facing difficulties, her kids are learning resilience and the type of self-confidence we could all benefit from.
1 They Get Nervous Sometimes, Too
Overall, Ellen’s children seem to be more like your average kids than Hollywood elite. But it’s not because they lack style or worldliness, though. It’s because they still get nervous on the first day of school (well, not Eli yet, obviously!) and still need a confidence-inspiring talk from mom about being yourself, standing up for the little guy, and always trying no matter how nervous you feel going in to try something new. And Ellen also teaches her kids to be kind to others and always relate to other people, lessons that all kids—not just the celebs’—should learn!
Sources: Romper, InStyle