Patrick Dempsey is making marriage his top priority. The former Grey’s Anatomy star shocked fans early in 2015 when he announced that he and his wife, Jillian Fink, were calling it quits after 15 years of marriage — but now, they’re making it work.
In a new People cover story, Dempsey, 50, shares how the couple went from being on the brink of breaking things off to salvaging their marriage by reconsidering his priorities. “Our marriage was not something I was prepared to let go of,” the Bridget Jones’s Baby actor told the mag. “I didn’t feel like we had done all the work. And we both wanted to do that work. That’s where it started.”
Dempsey shared that facing the reality that his marriage may end was scary. “It’s always destabilizing when you’re potentially breaking up a family or you have a big section of your life that’s ending,” he acknowledged.
One vital step to repairing his marriage to Fink was going to couples counseling. In the candid interview, Dempsey revealed that therapy was “very important.”
The couple share three children, Talula, 14, and twin sons Darby and Sullivan, 8. As parents, they wanted to set an example for their children. “Everybody has their own path,” Dempsey told People. “Jill and I decided it was time to work on our issues and improve. We wanted to be role models for our kids like, okay, if you have differences, you can work them out.”
After playing Dr. Derek Shepherd for over 10 years on Grey’s Anatomy, Dempsey left the ABC medical drama series in April 2015 and took a step back from race car driving – a hobby he famously loves.
“You can only do one thing at a time and do it well. I [learned] to prioritize,” he told the magazine. “Our union has to be the priority. I wasn’t prepared to give up on her and she wasn’t either. We both wanted to fight for it.”
Married couples who are going through difficult times may find Dempsey’s approach to rekindling his marriage useful. “You’ve got to keep at it,” he concluded. “You’ve got to communicate, and stay open and not get lazy. And not give up. And lots of sex!”