Every true Grey's Anatomy fan remembers the first time they laid eyes on Patrick Dempsey's Derek Shepherd. The perfectly tousled hair and the aloof charm that swept Meredith Grey off her feet got to all of us fans, too. We all watched their relationship blossom from a one night stand into a tried-and-true relationship, complete with marriage, children, late night arguments, and, in true Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital fashion, the occasional near-death experiences. And, one fateful episode in Season 11, Derek actually died — changing the show forever, but not stopping it from forging on without him. So, what is Patrick Dempsey now after Grey's Anatomy?
Dempsey never failed to bring both his boyish charisma and serious acting chops to the role, making Derek not just the resident heartthrob brain surgeon, but a character full of demons and complexities of his own. Though Grey's Anatomy has moved on from Derek's Season 11 death in major ways, just like with other beloved characters who have moved on, devoted viewers still feel his absence. And, while Dempsey is not as much in the public eye these days, he's not hanging up his acting skills just yet.
TV Guide reports that Dempsey will star in the TV miniseries The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, based on a 2015 novel of the same name, which will air on the cable network Epix. Dempsey will play the title character, accused of the murder of a 15-year-old girl. He also starred post-Grey's Anatomy in the 2015 film, Bridget Jones's Baby, and the actor's IMDb page lists several pre-production projects for 2017 and 2018. It seems as though fans of his acting are in luck for the future.
But acting isn't all he's got up his sleeve — Dempsey's also been spending time on another favorite pastime of his: Racing cars. He told CNN that he spent his first big paycheck, from the 1980s film Can't Buy Me Love, on a Porsche. According to CNN, he's both a driver and co-owner for Dempsey Proton Racing, and has been for more than 10 years.
"The whole concept and design behind Porsche was to go racing and performance. That's really the legacy," the actor told CNN. "I like to drive them, and you want to look at them because they are sculptural, they're beautiful to look at ... You look at the Porsche line, it's just so identifiable, and it's so iconic.
According to Dempsey's Instagram account, cars aren't the only thing he's racing, either. The star has been posting many photos of bike races, often sponsored by Dempsey Proton Racing and in support of various charities. And of course, he's spending time with his wife and children. The father of three cited family time as one of the things he was most looking forward to following his departure from Grey's Anatomy, according to People.
"I’m very grateful for Grey’s Anatomy," Dempsey told People Magazine. "It’s given me the opportunity to do everything. But, at the same time, there was a cost." He told the magazine that he was enjoying ski trips with his wife and kids, and that it was a welcome change from the rigorous filming schedule he was used to. "I was so happy to be riding a chair lift in a snowstorm with my kids," Dempsey said. "I was really grateful to have the time to just sit down and enjoy stuff like that. I’m definitely more relaxed now. And happier too."
Meredith has since moved on to dabble in other romances after Derek's death, but his absence is still felt, even many episodes after his departure. However, Ellen Pompeo, who plays Meredith, said that Derek's death may have given the show a new route and story arc that it needed, per Glamour. "I think a lot of people were really upset about [Dempsey's] departure, which is super understandable, but I think the change is part of the reason why the show goes on so long," Pompeo said on The Ellen Degeneres Show, according to Glamour. "I think people tune in to see what will the show look like now? What is Meredith going to do without Derek? I think they get so upset about the change, but change is precisely what everyone always needs to sort of get to the next place."
The show has indeed gone on, and hasn't lacked for interesting storylines without Derek. We still see flashbacks of him from time to time, remember him fondly, and if Dempsey is enjoying his life after Grey's, that's really all that matters.