Shonda Rhimes Says She Had to Hire Security After Some 'Grey's Anatomy' Fans "Got Mean"

"I understand that the characters felt like their friends. They were my imaginary friends too."

Shonda Rhimes Says She Had to Hire Security After Some 'Grey's Anatomy' Fans "Got Mean"
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Shonda Rhimes is opening up about the intensity of some diehard Grey's Anatomy fans that led her to fear for her safety and the safety of her family.

In a recent interview with The Sunday Times to promote season three, part one of her hit Netflix show Bridgerton, the prolific showrunner said she had to hire private security following Grey's Anatomy season finales.

“Social media changed. Fans have passionate feelings, and I was always fine with that,”Rhimes, who stopping acting as the series' showrunner in 2015, told the publication. “I understand that the characters felt like their friends. They were my imaginary friends too. That’s why I was writing them. And I think people just had very strong feelings about what happened with their friends. But then it became weird.”

Rhimes said fans "got mean" after season finales, and explained that she would have a police car parked outside her house for weeks because she was receiving death threats from fans who didn't like how she ended certain seasons.

“And you never knew who was going to really take offense in the wrong way," she said.

Shonda Rhimes attends the 35th annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Beverly Hilton on March 14, 2024 in Beverly Hills, California.

Shonda Rhimes attends the 35th annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Beverly Hilton on March 14, 2024 in Beverly Hills, California.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

She went on to say that eventually she stopped having police cars park in her driveway and instead hired private, 24-hour around-the-clock security “because people are dangerous and strange."

“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,” she continued. “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.”

Rhimes first became a mom in 2002, after adopting her first daughter. Ten years later, in 2012, she adopted her second daughter. In 2013, the showrunner welcomed her third daughter into the fold via surrogate.

Recently, Rhimes shared a photo of one of her daughter's watching a Grey's Anatomy episode on her iPad while enjoying a bowl of pasta.

"My not so tiny human started watching @greysabc for the first time yesterday," the proud mom wrote in the caption. "My brain is breaking. 🤯 I am dead. DEAD. But so glad she’s getting to see the women her mom created."

A post shared by Shonda Rhimes

A photo posted by shondarhimes on

Back in 2022, in an interview with WSJ Magazine, Rhimes said her three daughters had "never seen" the show.

"My youngest daughters are 8 and 9, so they're far too young to watch it or even care, which is good," Rhimes said at the time, and before revealing that her oldest daughter isn't a fan of the show, either.

"I have a 19-year-old who finds it horrifying that I've written a show that all of her friends have seen multiple times. And so she has never seen it. And I have to say, I think that might be the best compliment ever," she continued.

"I think about it like, her mother wrote a show that tells all her friends what to think about love and sex. So she's not interested in watching it, and I think that that's a very good thing."

Danielle Campoamor
Weekend Editor

Danielle Campoamor is Marie Claire's weekend editor covering all things news, celebrity, politics, culture, live events, and more. In addition, she is an award-winning freelance writer and former NBC journalist with over a decade of digital media experience covering mental health, reproductive justice, abortion access, maternal mortality and mental health, gun violence, climate change, politics, celebrity news, culture, online trends, wellness, gender-based violence and other feminist issues. You can find both her work in The New York Times, Washington Post, New York Magazine, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, TODAY, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, InStyle, Playboy, Teen Vogue, Glamour, The Daily Beast, Mother Jones, Prism, Newsweek and more. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and their two feral sons. When she is not writing, editing or doom scrolling she enjoys reading, cooking, debating current events and politics, traveling to Seattle to see her dear friends and losing Pokémon battles against her ruthless offspring. You can find her on X, Instagram, Threads, Facebook and all the places.