'I Would Lay Awake At Night': Shonda Rhimes Reveals She Hired Security After Fans Got Angry Over Grey's Anatomy Finale

Shonda Rhimes opens up about "passionate fans" sending her death threats over finale of the beloved prime time series. It got "weird" but some "helpful friends" made it easier!

Published on Apr 17, 2024  |  10:59 PM IST |  57.6K
Shonda Rhimes (via Instagram)

Grey’s Anatomy characters are “imaginary friends” to Shonda Rhimes and the fans, but it can get crazy!

The creator of ABC’s hit medical drama is speaking out on the bittersweet consequence of a beloved series. Rhimes notes that the fans have evolved since the show first aired in 2005 due to the presence of social media, and it eventually became “weird.”


Why did Grey’s Anatomy fans give Rhimes sleepless nights?

Shonda Rhimes, 54, spoke to The Sunday Times as the series got renewed for season 21. Although she is grateful for the fans’ love, she admits that their passion for the show gets scary at times. 

“Social media changed,” she said. “Fans have passionate feelings, and I was always fine with that. I understand that the characters felt like their friends. They were my imaginary friends too. That’s why I was writing them,” she added. “And I think people just had very strong feelings about what happened with their friends.”

She shared that it became too much after a certain point,  “But then it became weird. They got mean,” she added. Revealing she got death threats from angry fans, she said, “And you never knew who was going to really take offense in the wrong way.”



As a result of the fans’ invasion and anger, Rhimes was forced to hire private 24-hour security at her Los Angeles home because “people are dangerous and strange.”


Shonda Rhimes on how it affected her personal life

Rhimes shared with People’s Magazine that her life was tremendously affected by the death threats. “I wanted to just be able to walk out my front door and hang out with my kids and not be worried. I would lay awake at night with stress,” the showrunner revealed. 

However, the mom to Harper, 21, Emerson Pearl, 11, and Beckett, 10, had “helpful friends” who supported her through the tough time. 

“I had some very helpful friends who’d had similar experiences, who were able to give me a lot of perspective, and who were adamant that if you can’t live normally, then you’re not going to be able to live,” she said. Rhimes has since moved out of LA to a state she won’t reveal. 


Rhimes is proud of Grey’s Anatomy’s renewal for season 21

The longest-running Primetime scripted series and medical drama was renewed for season 21 last month. The proud showrunner celebrated with a throwback picture on Instagram, “This picture was taken in 2015,” she captioned it. 

“To still be on your screens, in your living rooms, and in your hearts almost ten years later - words cannot express my gratitude,” she wrote with the 250th episode celebration picture. 


She recalled making the show two decades ago and expressed her pride. “Grey’s was something I made up 20+ years ago, and I am so incredibly proud that it’s been picked up for its 21st season,” she said. 

“This honestly could not be possible without you guys..caring about the stories I tell, the talented cast, writers, and crew. Wow,” Rhimes continued in her caption. The showrunner is also the creator of the much-anticipated Bridgerton season three, which will be released next month. 

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