Patrick Dempsey Still Says the McDreamy Nickname Is "Hard To Live Up To"
From timeless teenage heartthrobs to the new guard of need-to-watch talent, these Hollywood Hunks are doing big things.
He may have left Grey’s Anatomy three years ago, but it’s still hard to imagine Patrick Dempsey as anything other than Dr. Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd. Until you see him on the race track, that is.
If you haven’t heard (or seen on his Insta feed), Dempsey is a full-on racing aficionado these days. And as he climbed into a sleek Formula E car at the New York City E-Prix, one thing became very clear — the man loves getting behind the wheel. Maybe even more so than getting in front of the camera.
“I've loved racing since I was a kid,” Dempsey tells InStyle of his test drive. “Ski racing was my first love, and then I picked up riding the unicycle, which got me involved in the entertainment industry and performing.”
Even after he got his big acting break in ‘80s classics like Can’t Buy Me Love and Loverboy, he still had cars on the brain. “I was about 20 years old when I finished Can’t Buy Me Love, and right afterwards, I spend my entire paycheck on a black Porsche 356,” he recalls. “I saw it on the side of the road with a ‘For Sale’ sign, so I pulled over and bought it. I still have it today.”
Though Dempsey is more likely to be found on the track than a film set these days (it is rumored that he’ll soon join the cast of the upcoming miniseries Devils), he’s been busy working on other creative projects too, like his capsule clothing collection with Bluesalt and his partnership with the watch brand Tag Heuer.
That still doesn’t stop hoards of Grey’s Anatomy fans from reminding him how much he’s missed in Shondaland. As Dr. Shepherd, Dempsey helped make the medical drama a must-watch on Thursday nights, and in the process, became a swoon-worthy object of affection for hoards of millennials shipping the #MerDer romance.
Dempsey gets it — he fell for his first celeb crush, Dorothy Hamill, by watching her on TV too (“She was skating in the Olympics!” he recalls).
Since Dempsey's character was killed off in 2015, the show has gone on. This fall marks Grey’s Anatomy’s 15th season, making it ABC’s longest-running primetime scripted series of all-time — a feat that’s not lost on Dempsey.
“Grey’s Anatomy is still being discovered by people now,” he says. “And around the world, people still know me from that. It's changed my life, and I'm very grateful that I've had that experience. I really am.”
The McDreamy nickname hasn’t gone anywhere either. Dempsey, 52, says that he gets a kick out of it now. “It’s always hard to live up to that,” he says, grinning. “It’s fascinating to still have it as a moniker, though. It makes me laugh! But Derek is a character that means a lot to people, so I have respect for it. It’s nice to be known.”
Still, don’t expect Dempsey to show up in a Grey's flashback scene anytime soon. “I like where I am right now in life,” he says. “I feel optimistic about what’s still to come. And I try to remind myself to be in the present, not worry about the past or the future.”