Isaiah Washington and Patrick Dempsey, who played Dr. Preston Burke and Dr. Derek Shepherd, apparently had a huge fight on the set of “Grey’s Anatomy.” The tension between the two never really quite dissipated between them, even years later, if Twitter rants are any indication.
On the show, their characters grew to be friends and found their personal lives intertwining on countless occasions, most notably because of the friendship between Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) and Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), each of whom, at one time, dated Dr. Burke and Dr. Shepherd, respectively. In fact, Shepherd even performed surgery on Burke’s gunshot wound. (It left Burke’s hand with a tremor, but this slight blow to his confidence allowed Shepherd to grow as a surgeon.)
Apparently, though, Isaiah Washington’s hand was in fine shape when he grabbed Dempsey’s shirt on set during a violent 2006 confrontation over a co-worker who showed up late to set. During the fight, multiple onlookers reported that Washington also shouted a homophobic slur at his fellow actor.
Taking to Twitter in 2020, Washington appeared not to have gotten over the conflict, even over a decade later. This time, he directed his rage at another co-star, Katherine Heigl, who, in response to Washington’s use of the slur and subsequent denial, once said that he should “just not speak in public, period.”