Grey’s Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo has told how she negotiated her 20 million dollar pay deal.

The actress, 48,  told The Hollywood Reporter that when men discuss their salaries, they “ask for the world”.

But “as women, we’re like, ‘Oh, can I ask for that? Is that OK?'”,  Pompeo, who will be earning a reported 20 million dollars (£14.5 million) a year, or 575,000 dollars (£416,000) an episode, said.

BPatrick Dempsey (Ian West/PA)Patrick Dempsey (Ian West/PA)

She said that co-star Patrick (Dempsey) leaving the hit US show was a “defining moment” when it came to negotiating her own fee.

“They could always use him as leverage against me — ‘We don’t need you. We have Patrick’ — which they did for years,” she said.

“At one point, I asked for 5,000 dollars more than him just on principle, because the show is Grey’s Anatomy and I’m Meredith Grey. They wouldn’t give it to me,” she said.

The actress said young stars, with a few big movie credits to their name, were perceived as successful “even though she’s probably being paid shit” and less than their male co-stars.

“And they’re going to pimp her out until she’s 33 or 34 and then she’s out like yesterday’s trash…

“These poor girls have no real money, and the studio is making a fortune and parading them like ponies on a red carpet,” she said.

Pompeo said that hearing the stories of actresses, since the Hollywood sexual harassment scandal surfaced, had confirmed that she was on the right “path … so that I never have to be ducking predators and chasing trophies” .

Harvey Weinstein (Anthony Devlin/PA)Harvey Weinstein (Anthony Devlin/PA)

And Pompeo said of being sent to meet disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein by her agent, in his hotel room, many years ago, that she “walked into that room batting the shit out of my eyelashes.

“You think, ‘Not only do I have to show that I’m a good actress, but that director also has to in some way fall in love with me and at least become enamoured with me’. That never felt right or good to me.”

Weinstein has denied allegations of non-consensual sex after accusations were made against him by several women.