A Grey’s Anatomy writer who weaved her alleged experience with cancer and other past trauma into storylines has admitted she faked the whole thing.
In a bombshell interview with The Ankler, Elisabeth Finch admitted she “fucked up” and no shit, mate.
“What I did was wrong. Not okay. Fucked up. All the words,” she said.
She revealed she became addicted to the constant attention she received when she hurt her knee while hiking back in 2007.
She also claimed it was the result of the “trauma” of her older brother “abusing” her when they were growing up.
“I told a lie when I was 34 years old and it was the biggest mistake of my life,” she said.
“It just got bigger and bigger and bigger and got buried deeper and deeper inside me. I’ve never had any form of cancer. I know it’s absolutely wrong what I did. I lied and there’s no excuse for it.”
Finch (far right) appeared on the show as a nurse. (Credit: Grey’s Anatomy)
In 2014, Finch was hired to work on Grey’s Anatomy and for years pretended that she had previously been forced to undergo gruelling chemotherapy. She claimed that as a result of the treatment, she lost a kidney, part of her tibia and was forced to have an abortion.
She recounted her medical history in articles for Elle, The Hollywood Reporter and the Shondaland website, which was created by Grey’s Anatomy producer Shonda Rhymes.
Ultimately, parts of her fudged story inspired episodes of the show.
Her Grey’s Anatomy co-workers also spoke with the publication, describing how she would keep up the ruse in person by showing up to work with a shaved head and by only eating saltines as she said it was the only food she could “keep down.”
‘There’s a momentum that grows,” she told the site.
“Why do alcoholics keep drinking? Why do addicts keep using more and more? I think it was a lie that got completely out of control and I got out of control with it. I wasn’t some calculating puppet master trying to buck the system.
“I think it was something that got really freaking out of control and that’s what happens when you’re dealing with a maladaptive way of dealing with things. It just gets bigger.”
The whole thing unravelled when she met her now ex-wife, Jennifer Beyer, in 2019.
Beyer was a nurse and eventually discovered that her wife had been faking illness.
Under Beyer’s insistence, Finch told a few friends and family members but refused to tell the Grey’s Anatomy team, so Beyer did it for her.
“I didn’t walk around thinking that I have this secret and that I was going to get caught. I didn’t stand there on my wedding day thinking, ‘Shit, I haven’t told her this’ because it was buried so far down. And I didn’t think your [March] piece was inevitable particularly because I didn’t think I bothered anyone,” she added, referencing a piece in March that first outed her lies.
“Every once in awhile the thought would pop up that I wish I could tell Shonda because of the person that she is and because she has the ability to understand that people do really fucked up things but that doesn’t make them a fucked up person.
“She sees people and the antidote to shame is being seen.”
Finch (left) on the set of Grey’s Anatomy.
Fred Einesman, a medical consultant hired by Grey’s Anatomy to approve medical storylines, was one of a few colleagues who grew suspicious of her story.
He believed Finch faked cancer for sympathy and to weaponise her pain against her co-workers.
Another staffer told the publication: “I know the people that she hurt and that she lied to and that she bullied and they were always people with less power than her, compassionate people with kind souls and she absolutely targeted them.
“That’s what master manipulators do. What she’s done is absolutely unconscionable but she doesn’t have a conscience… She does not deserve to have a voice.”
Elisabeth Finch also lied about being mates with a victim of the anti-Semitic mass shooting attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018, something she’d used to ask Grey’s Anatomy bosses for time off.
She had also claimed to friends that the FBI allowed her onto the crime scene to collect her friend’s remains.
She falsely claimed that her brother Eric had committed suicide, telling colleagues: “I’ve been gone bc my brother died by suicide.”
Since the scandal first broke back in March, Elisabeth Finch has not been working with Grey’s Anatomy.
At the time, she released the following statement via Deadline: “I will always remain one of Grey’s Anatomy’s biggest fans. I loved the show from day one and had the honour to write for it since season 11. The proudest moment of my career was watching survivors of rape receive the episode ‘Silent All These Years.’ Grey’s Anatomy is one big-hearted, brilliant family. As hard as it is to take some time away right now, I know it is more important that I focus on my own family and my health. I’m immensely grateful to Disney, ABC, and Shondaland for allowing me to do so and for supporting me through this very difficult time.”