Shonda Rhimes on why she had the police outside her house after every Grey's Anatomy season finale

Shonda Rhimes shared that Grey's Anatomy fans got so intense, she needed police protection! Find out more here!
2024 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones - Dinner
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Grey’s Anatomy fans are used to wild situations but in real life, Shonda Rhimes had an issue so serious, she needed to call the cops! What happened to the producer? Find out here!

It’s well known that fans of Shonda Rhimes’ TV shows can be a passionate lot. For every major romance and character exit on Grey’s Anatomy, Station 19, Bridgerton and more, fans will flock to social media and buzz about it. They’re still debating Derek’s death on Grey’s and social media goes wild for other plot turns.

Rhimes has encouraged this over the years, interacting with fans and speaking in interviews on how she listens to them, although she is not afraid to do something that would shake them up (like a major character death). Speaking to The Sunday Times in preparation for Bridgerton Season 3 premiering on Netflix next month, Rhimes talked of how she’s cut back on her social media interactions given how tricky it’s become.

"Social media changed. Fans have passionate feelings, and I was always fine with that. 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."

How weird? How about needing private security to keep her safe?

Did Shonda Rhimes really need private security? 

Rhimes went on to confirm that sure enough, several fans got pretty intense. That was proven by the huge backlash on Derek’s death, which Rhimes admitted she wasn’t ready for. But some took it too far. 

“They got mean,” Rhimes continued. “And you never knew who was going to really take offense in the wrong way.” To prove it, after every season finale of Grey’s, Rhimes had to have a police car parked outside her home for a week because of death threats amid the letters and later social media. She eventually had to make it into a private 24-hour security “because people are dangerous and strange.”

It wasn’t just herself that Rhimes was worried about but also her children. She eventually realized cutting back on the interactions was best. 

"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. 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."

It appears that Rhimes isn’t letting this change her, as she keeps up her great work with TV shows. Yet it’s troubling to know how some fans can take their passion for a show way too far. Being upset over a character leaving is one thing, openly threatening someone’s life is crossing the line. Hopefully, Rhimes’ experience can be a warning to some folks not to go to such extremes.

Grey’s Anatomy season 20 airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.