Patrick Dempsey Almost Divorced His Wife Of Over 20 Years, Here’s Why

Patrick Dempsey and his wife, makeup artist/hairstylist Jillian Fink, seem like they have a “McDreamy” marriage, but that hasn’t always been the case. In fact, Fink once filed for divorce and the two spent the large portion of a year estranged before Dempsey made several career and life changes. From a divorce filing citing “irreconcilable differences” to being one of the longest-lasting and enviable marriages in Hollywood, Dempsey and Fink are proof that hard work and compromise pay off for spouses. 

A Fairytale Beginning For Patrick Dempsey, Jillian Fink

Former Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey married his second wife, Jillian Fink, in 1999. This came just a few years after Dempsey finalized his divorce from his first wife, whom he married at 21-years-old. Interestingly, his first wife was the 47-year-old mother of his best friend and also his manager. They divorced after seven years of marriage, and Dempsey soon moved on with Fink, who works as a makeup artist and hairstylist. 

They soon welcomed three children, a daughter Tallulah and twin sons Darby and Sullivan. During this time, Dempsey experienced enormous success as an actor while starring on Grey’s Anatomy and began dabbling in race car driving, a personal passion of his. Fink’s career also began taking off, scoring celebrity clients like Julia Roberts and Bradley Cooper. 

Fink Files For Divorce

Things seemed like they were going well for the couple, but appearances can be deceiving. In January 2015, at the height of Dempsey’s Grey’s Anatomy career, Fink filed for divorce and cited “irreconcilable differences.” 

At the time, the spouses released a statement that read: “It is with careful consideration and mutual respect that we have decided to end our marriage. Our primary concern remains the wellbeing of our children, and we ask with profound gratitude that you respect our family’s privacy at this very sensitive time.” 

Where The Marriage Went Wrong

The announcement of the divorce came as a surprise to many fans, but insiders at the time told People, “[The split] was a long time coming,” adding, “They were never going to make it work, but they tried.” In addition to disagreements, the two simply didn’t get the chance to spend much time together, multiple sources told the outlet. 

With Dempsey often away from home to film, and building his racing career, there was clearly a lack of work/life balance, something he, ironically enough, mentioned just a short while before the divorce announcement. By the end of the year, however, it became apparent that the couple’s split likely wouldn’t last. In November of that same year, Dempsey and Fink were photographed holding hands and strolling around Paris, the city of love. 

How They Brought Back The Love

By May 2016, the two had called off their divorce entirely and Patrick Dempsey wasn’t shy about talking about the changes he’d made in order to keep the marriage together. First of all, he left Grey’s Anatomy, which he insisted was a mutual decision with showrunner Shonda Rhimes. In a 2016 interview with the Evening Standard, Dempsey explained, “You have to work at everything. And you cannot do everything. Something has to be sacrificed.” 

The show that made him a household name was one of those sacrifices, and though Dempsey was grateful that the series had “given [him] the opportunity to do everything,” it still came with “a cost,” he admitted, adding, “no matter how much money you make, you want control out of your own schedule.” 

Dempsey also cut back the time he spent on the race track. “I’ve sort of stepped back — I’m the team owner, but time goes by so quickly with my kids that I don’t want to miss that,” he continued. Even the greatest of marriages can face difficulties. Difficulties that can sometimes be overcome.


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