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10 Wildest Fan Theories About Grey’s Anatomy

Grey’s Anatomy is one of the most beloved TV shows ever made. It first aired in 2005 and is still going strong today, with no signs of ending any time soon. After nearly two decades, it’s unsurprising that there are plenty of Grey’s Anatomy fan theories and many wild ones at that.

Grey’s Anatomy is a medical show with a pretty simple premise. It follows the stories of aspiring surgeons balancing their professional and personal lives. It’s very much based in reality, but not everything immediately makes sense. Like most shows, fans of Grey’s Anatomy stepped up to the plate to fill in some of the gaps in storylines and theorize. Fan theories are often pretty diverse, as they range from realistic to completely nonsensical, and Grey’s theories are no different.

Marriages and Deaths are Intertwined

Grey’s Anatomy features many significant romances throughout its 19 seasons. So, naturally, there are several marriages featured. But there’s also an interesting relationship between marriage and death or disasters in the show.

One of the first examples of the dynamic is with the iconic Addison, Derek, and Meredith love triangle, specifically when Addison and Derek’s marriage ends. In the Season 2 finale, Addison discovers Derek and Meredith did the “McNasty” during the hospital’s prom night. While they didn’t technically get divorced or even break up, prom night marks the end of their relationship, and unfortunately, the episode also features Denny Duquette’s death. Another massive example is with Miranda Bailey and Ben Warren. On the day they get married, Bailey gets called into emergency surgery for Richard Webber’s wife, Adele. As the happy couple dance at their reception, Richard reveals that Adele died soon before he arrived at the wedding. Overall, it’s usually fair to assume that if a couple gets married in Grey’s, one will die, or the marriage will end in divorce, usually accompanied by a character leaving.

Meredith Visited Izzie After Derek’s Death

Season 11 featured Meredith and Derek’s marriage facing its most intense challenge as Derek takes a job in Washington D.C., relocating there part-time and leaving Meredith as a single mother. When everything starts getting back to normal, he gets into a bad car accident and receives catastrophic injuries, leaving him brain-dead. After Meredith removes him from life support, she returns to the hospital to announce his death, and they have a funeral before she and the kids disappear for several months.

During the funeral, Meredith stands beside a woman who’s hardly shown but is clearly her person, Cristina. Part of the theory suggests that Cristina helped Meredith disappear after they left the funeral and possibly went with her. However, the theory focuses on where Meredith went during her time away, as she visited someone from her past. While some believe that person was Addison due to their shared love for Derek, many fans suggest the person she saw was actually Izzie Stevens. Izzie was one of her only friends who dealt with the sudden death of their significant other, as Meredith watched Izzie grieve deeply for Denny in Season 3 of Grey’s. It would also explain why Meredith was secretive about her whereabouts, especially to Alex, as the way Izzie left crushed him.

Grey’s Anatomy’s Ending Will Reference Gray’s Anatomy

Grey’s Anatomy’s title obviously revolves around the show’s main character, Meredith Grey. But, what many fans might not know is that the title is a play on a real-life book called Gray’s Anatomy by Henry Gray. The beast of a book is a reference book on human anatomy and surgery told through the work of Doctors Gray and Henry Vandyke Carter. They compiled their discoveries throughout their careers into the book, often called “The Doctors’ Bible.”

Many fans believe Grey’s Anatomy will connect to Gray’s Anatomy even further. But it won’t become apparent until the end. While Meredith Grey and actor Ellen Pompeo stepped away from the show, the theory is still plausible. Whether she returns to Seattle or stays in Boston, the theory suggests she’ll continue to make groundbreaking discoveries. By the end of her career, she’ll have changed medicine so much that her work will be the standard reference for future doctors in a book called Grey’s Anatomy.

Alex Didn’t Leave For Izzie

Season 16 of Grey’s Anatomy said goodbye to one of the original and most beloved characters, Alex Karev, as actor Justin Chambers stepped away from the show. His sudden exit got explained away through a handful of letters sent to the people he loved explaining that he left to be with his ex-wife Izzie and the twins she had via IVF with eggs he fertilized. Many fans are still shocked and upset about this exit as Alex was a fan favorite, and his exit was so far out of character. So, naturally, people started theorizing their ways around it.

The theory ties into Alex’s tumultuous childhood, specifically his mom. Alex reveals a little bit later in the show that his mom struggled with her mental health and the problems he faced in his life due to her paranoid schizophrenia, which never got proper treatment. While his mom appears in later seasons happy and healthy, many fans can’t help but acknowledge that schizophrenia can be genetic. So, the theory suggests that instead of leaving to be with Izzie, Alex started exhibiting symptoms of the disease and ran away to hide it. There isn’t much to support the theory, but it does a great job of replacing Alex’s horrible exit for some fans.

Lexie Grey Never Existed

Grey’s Anatomy Season 2 introduced Meredith and the audience to a woman named Molly Grey-Thompson as well as her mother, Susan Grey. Meredith meets her father’s new family while Molly’s in the hospital, and she mentions she has a big sister in medical school. It isn’t until the end of Season 3 that Molly’s sister, Lexie, comes into play. She joins the new class of interns at Seattle Grace. Through her time on the show, Lexie and Meredith grow close, and she’s still a fan-favorite character despite her tragic death in Season 8.

Some strange details about Lexie make fans believe she was simply a figment of Meredith’s imagination or something of the sort. Essentially, the theory is that Lexie never existed. The evidence provided in the theory centers around her age, as she’s extraordinarily young to be a surgical intern. Unfortunately for the theory, Lexie being so young is explained by her photographic memory, as being “Lexipedia” helped her get through school quicker than others. It’s an interesting take, though, especially if the Lexipedia detail got added as a last-ditch effort to fix a plothole.

The Hospital is Purgatory

A popular theory among Grey’s Anatomy fans is that when someone dies in the show, they get transported into a purgatory-like realm. It’s not a completely outlandish theory, as Meredith experienced this realm in the snow.

In Season 3 of Grey’s, Meredith falls into the water at the scene of a ferry boat accident and drowns. While the doctors try to revive her, Meredith wanders around the hospital and encounters several people who died, including Denny and her beloved dog, Doc. She’s not dead, but she’s not exactly alive either, and Denny’s interactions with Izzie suggest that it’s not a dream. Similarly, in Season 17, while Meredith is in her Covid coma, she interacts with her loved ones on a beach and even knows when DeLuca dies despite remaining unconscious. Both scenes remain shrouded in mystery. If the realm isn’t purgatory, there’s still a valid but wild argument for the show depicting the afterlife, especially given Meredith’s happy place shifting from the hospital to the beach between near-death experiences.

Derek Shepherd is Still Alive


As mentioned above, Season 11 features the death of Patrick Dempsey’s Derek Shepherd. For several episodes before his death, Derek was working on a project for the White House at the request of the President of the United States. When he died, Derek was on his way to hand in his resignation from the project to return to his life in Seattle.

The theory suggests that Derek didn’t die at all. While it’s not completely clear how his death got faked or if his wife knew about it, the theory asserts that the White House had to fake Derek’s death for another secret project. There are also some branches to the theory suggesting that he’s secretly working on the cure for Alzheimer’s. Most of the theories presented under the idea provide hope that Derek can return to his family at the show’s end.

Most Characters are Embodiments of Emotions

A beloved brand of fan theory for most forms of media involves characters representing emotions, mental illnesses, or even the Seven Deadly Sins. Until Disney’s Inside Out hit theaters in 2015, there weren’t any movies or shows to show that characters could explicitly portray emotions. Grey’s Anatomy happens to have a theory with the same concept, too.

The theory suggests that every main character in Grey’s Anatomy except Meredith portrays an emotion or sensation, like the characters in Inside Out. Derek represents love, Mark Sloan represents lust, Izzie is compassion, Richard is forgiveness, Arizona is happiness, Ellis is ambitious, and April represents faith. Several more characters and emotions fit, but honestly, every main character in the show could fit the bill.

The Entire Show is Meredith’s Diaries

The spotlight in Grey’s Anatomy is focused directly on Meredith’s head, and the early seasons also explore some aspects of her mother’s life. Meredith keeps her mom’s memory alive through the dozens of journals she reads throughout the show.

It makes perfect sense that Meredith would pick up journaling for herself. But a theory dives a little deeper by proposing that the entire show is just a retelling of stories from Meredith’s diaries or her memoir. Perhaps the best evidence to support the theory is the various voiceovers featured throughout the show, most of which are Meredith. Her voice often appears at the beginning and end of the episode to tease the events or sprinkle some twisted philosophy. The theory suggests that the show will end with Meredith’s oldest daughter, Zola, closing the final chapter of her mother’s story, whether she was reading the books for herself or using them to help her mother remember her life and career.

Most of Grey’s Anatomy Never Happened

The wildest Grey’s Anatomy theory could be realistic, but it makes the potential endings much darker than most other theories. It suggests that most of Meredith Grey’s experiences in Grey’s never actually happened.

The first episode of Grey’s Anatomy introduced Alzheimer’s as a lurking enemy to Meredith Grey. Her mother, the great surgeon Ellis Grey, suffers from the disease, and Meredith has to watch her mother fade. It’s a significant part of the first few seasons when Ellis is alive, and even after her death, it’s a real issue in Meredith’s life, and one of her biggest fears is developing the same condition that killed her mom. Many of Grey’s theories center around Meredith getting Alzheimer’s, so it’s not an outrageous and new thought. But this specific theory suggests that the events of Grey’s Anatomy are simply Meredith misremembering or fabricating events from her life. The fact that Meredith survived so much during the series makes the possibility gutwrenching, especially as one considers how Meredith could die without remembering who she was. But then again, it’s just a theory, and the folks at Shondaland get the final say. There’s no end in sight for Grey’s Anatomy, so fans can keep making more fan theories, even if they’re absolutely wild.

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