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Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey named People’s 2023 Sexiest Man Alive: ‘This is a joke, right?’

Dempsey, 57, achieved heartthrob status after he was cast as the world’s dreamiest neurosurgeon on Grey’s Anatomy, with the actor appearing in 250 episodes

Maanya Sachdeva
Thursday 09 November 2023 08:44 GMT
Patrick Dempsey admits he would do TV again

Patrick Dempsey has been named “Sexiest Man Alive” in 2023 by People magazine, with the Grey’s Anatomy actor lauding the win by joking: “I’ve always been the bridesmaid!”

The 57-year-old star, best known for playing the world’s dreamiest neurosurgeon on the hit ABC medical drama, takes over from last year’s sexiest man alive, Captain America actor Chris Evans.

The announcement was made during Tuesday night’s (7 November) episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live! with the talk show host introducing Dempsey, who is also a race car driver, as one of the “founding members of the handsome men’s club, going all the way back to 2010” who has now “risen to the top of sexy mountain”.

When asked how his family reacted to Dempsey being named the most desirable man in 2023, the Maine native replied: “They laughed. Quite hard.

“They were like ‘No, seriously. Who is it?’” he continued.

In People’s cover story, Dempsey revealed his own reaction to learning he had been chosen as “Sexiest Man Alive” was similar, adding that he “was completely shocked” when he first heard the news, “and then I started laughing”.

Patrick Dempsey (Getty Images for Clinton Global )

Making a reference to his 2008 movie Made of Honour, he added: “I’ve always been the bridesmaid!

“I’d completely forgotten about it and never even contemplated being in this position. So my ego is good,” he continued, before admitting “it’s nice to have the recognition” and that he hopes to use the platform “for something positive”.

Dempsey will next be seen on-screen in Michael Mann film Ferrari, alongside Adam Driver, Penelope Cruz, Shailene Woodley, Gabriel Leone, and Hugh Jackman, in which he plays Italian racing legend Piero Taruffi. In an interview with Associated Press, Dempsey revealed he did all the driving himself, calling it “the best role I’ve ever had”.

The actor has driven in several professional races, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and is part of the Wright Motorsports racing team, according to its website.

Ferrari, which will be released in theatres later this year, has received a waiver so that its stars can promote it without breaking rules in the ongoing Screen Actors Guild-AFTRA strike.


In addition to racing and acting, Dempsey is also dedicated to helping people affected with cancer and founded the Dempsey Center, a Maine-based organization that provides care and resources for cancer patients, in honour of his late mother. Amanda Dempsey was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1997 and died from the disease after a 17-year battle, aged 79.

Dempsey achieved heartthrob status when he was cast as Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd on Shonda Rhimes’s Grey’s Anatomy, with the actor appearing in more than 250 episodes.

He is married to celebrity make-up artist Jillian Dempsey, 57, and the couple share three children – daughter Talula, 21, and twin boys, Darby and Sullivan, 16.

Jillian celebrated her husband’s latest accolade with a sweet tribute on Instagram, shortly after the reveal, writing “you truly are my sexiest man alive”.

Past Sexiest Man Alive recipients include Michael B Jordan, hitmaker John Legend, Paul Rudd, Brad Pitt, Harrison Ford and Mel Gibson, who was the magazine's first ever recipient in 1985.

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