Addison Montgomery

Addison Adrianne Montgomery (formerly Shepherd), is a fictional character on the ABC television series Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice. She is played by Kate Walsh. Addison is a world-class neonatal surgeon with board certifications in both Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Maternal and Fetal Medicine. Additionally, she is a medical genetics fellow. She works at the Oceanside Wellness Group, a fictional practice located in Santa Monica, California.

Childhood and Growing UpEdit

Much of Addison's past is presented in a non-linear fashion, primarily revealed in the second season of Grey's Anatomy along with the second and third season of Private Practice. Addison was born in Connecticut and was born into a wealthy background with her brother Archer (a neurologist and author), father "The Captain" (a doctor and lecturer) and mother Bizzy. Addison is entitled to a twenty five million dollar trust fund and owns three properties: a New York brownstone, a house in the Hamptons and a house at Santa Monica. She now lives beside a beach in Malibu with an old friend, Sam Bennett.

When she was seven, she fell off her bike in the vineyard while going downhill because her tire came off. She flipped over the handlebars and scraped her face, but Archer picked her up, told her it was going to be okay, and carried her the half a mile back home. This is how Addison has always seen her brother, as the big brother who carried her home.

From the age of eight, Addison was mixing her father, The Captain's drinks.

When she was ten, Addison also had to deny her father's affair with his secretary, waiting for "daddy" while he was having sex in his office, and then pretending she had fun getting ice cream with her father. Her father also had affairs with (among others) three maids, four of Addison's nannies, Jolene her French tutor and the chef. She only discovered in adulthood that it was her mother that cheated first, with a woman but chose to stay married because she already had a family. Captain knew but also stayed with her, in love, and had affairs with other women.

When she went to prom in high school, it was the Skippy Gold. Addison was a band geek with braces and a lisp, she was forced to talk about Star Wars the whole night.

Grey's AnatomyEdit

Addison first appears in the season one finale, arriving at Richard Webber's behest, where she greets Meredith Grey by saying, "Hi, I'm Addison Shepherd. And you must be the woman who's been screwing my husband." She immediately learns that Derek Shepherd has started a relationship with intern Meredith, and tries to reconcile her own relationship with him. Derek is initially still angry with her, and there is a period of antagonism between them, including one point where she says, "Can I join or are you not into threesomes?" Addison's presence, however, does reinvigorate their relationship, and ultimately leads to Derek choosing Addison over Meredith, which eventually leads to Derek admitting to Addison that he fell in love with Meredith. They attempt to return to their former life, taking residence in his trailer, and Addison makes her move to Seattle permanent, becoming the head of a unique surgical service integrating neonatal surgery and obstetrics and gynaecology. She begins to realise that Derek still has feelings for Meredith, and their marriage is tested further when Mark Sloan arrives in Seattle looking for Addison because he wants to take her back to New York. Make makes Addison realise that Derek is in love with Meredith and that Mark does love her. After Derek finds Meredith in one of Finn's shirts, he sleeps with Addison even though he is in love with Meredith. When Addison finds out that Derek had sex with Meredith at prom by finding her panties in the pocket of Derek's tuxedo, she gets drunk and pursues a relationship with Mark that ultimately fails. During season two, Addison punishes Alex after he is rude to her by putting him on her service. Once her divorce with Derek finalises, Addison tells him that she had a two month affair with Mark and he wasn't a one night stand like Derek had thought. However, by season three, she begins to feel an attraction towards Alex Karev and eventually sleeps with him, only to discover that he is not interested in a relationship with her as she had thought. Feeling alone, Addison decides to have a baby and visits Naomi Bennett, who is a fertility specialist. This introduces Addison's transition from Grey's Anatomy to its spin-off, as it serves as the backdoor pilot for Private Practice. Soon after, Addison decides to leave Seattle and move to Los Angeles, joining Oceanside Wellness, led by Sam and Naomi. This marks Addison's departure from the series as a regular although she makes multiple guest appearances.

Personal LifeEdit

Since arriving at Seattle Grace, Addison has made many friendships with other hospital staff, most notably Callie Torres and Miranda Bailey (her reasons being she smells nice, she's polite and she saves babies). Her friendship with the two ladies has often been based on the fact that they act as each others confidantes. Callie and Addison often discuss their current relationships and love lives, which has ultimately led to a very close friendship between the two. Addison is also very good friends with fellow attending, Preston Burke, and her ex-husband, Derek. She still has a friendship with Mark and father-daughter bond with Richard, and is often portrayed to be very close to him. The only intern that Addison really bonded with was Alex but she had no grudges against any of the interns and even hugged Meredith as a sign of acceptance of her relationship with Derek. She helped Izzie Stevens to become a fighter again.

Addison is believed to have had a good relationship with the Shepherd family, in particular Nancy Shepherd, but, pending Derek's revelation of the true extent of Addison/Mark's relationship, her closeness to the Shepherds is in doubt.

After moving to L.A., Addison returned to Seattle Grace to help with a patient whose foetus's heart was growing out of its body. Upon her return, Addison didn't expect much change; but soon learnt that since her departure a lot had changed, for example, the break up of Meredith and Derek and his relationship with Rose, Callie's divorce and the breakdown of Bailey's marriage. During her stay there she met Callie's new friend Erica Hahn and mistakenly interpreted their friendship as a relationship. The mother and child both survived the surgery and Addison prepared to leave Seattle and return to L.A., telling Richard that she needed to come back to see how much she likes her new life. She left, but not before finding Meredith and telling her that she wasn't allowed to let Derek get away.

In the season two premiere of Private Practice, Addison betrayed Naomi by confronting Sam with something about the practice. Naomi drops her friendship with Addison and refuses to talk to her. Eventually she and Naomi began to mend their friendship and at last came back to being best friends. Addison (despite her rocky start) got on well with her new colleagues and friendships were rekindled (as she was friends with Naomi and Sam years ago), friendships were started (Violet, Dell Parker and Coop Freedman) and even a short time relationship occurred (with her now friend, Pete).

Romantic LifeEdit

Although she herself occasionally tended to do so, Miranda told Addison that she should not define herself by the men in her life.

Addison met her future husband, Derek in medical school in the summer. Their relationship grew and they eventually married. Derek once wrote a song for her.

After medical school, Addison and Derek became extremely successful in their respective fields and each began their own practice in New York. However, this strained their marriage.

Addison was married to Derek for eleven years before eventually sleeping with Derek's best friend, a plastic surgeon Mark, which prompted Derek to leave New York for Seattle at the request of their old friend and mentor, Richard.

After she and Derek initially separated, she tried to get over him even hoping that dying her hair blonde would help. She remained in New York and lived with Mark for two months, during which she became pregnant with Mark's child but she chose to have an abortion. The relationship ended when Mark cheated on Addison and Richard brought her to Seattle Grace for a consult on a difficult case.

After a period of antagonism between her and Derek (in which he continually referred to her as "Satan"), Addison decided to stay on as head of neo-natal surgery at Seattle Grace, signing a two-year contract after she and Derek decided to make an effort to work things out. Unfortunately, he still has feelings for Meredith.

When Addison discovered that her husband slept with Meredith at the hospital sponsored prom, Addison (in a drunk haze) called Mark to Seattle. She and Derek agreed that their marriage was over and started divorce proceedings. She asked Mark to go back to New York, but he stayed, expressing his desire to continue their relationship.

When the divorce was finalised, Addison dropped the "Shepherd" from her last name. Wanting to make a fresh start, Derek happily relinquished most of their shared properties (their Brownstone in Manhattan and a residence in The Hamptons) to her believing that she deserved it under his initial impression that she only had a one-night stand with Mark while he carried an affair with Meredith.

She stayed in Seattle for a long while after a possibility of a relationship between her and Alex was hinted at, when they kissed in Joe's Bar. She felt it was too strange though and he said he didn't care so the relationship was not brought ahead any further.

On the one-year anniversary of the day she discovered she was pregnant, Addison and Mark made a deal. If he could abstain from sex for 60 days she would be willing to try a real relationship with him; however, it is she who fails. She engages in a sexual encounter with Alex at the hospital and Mark learns of this after witnessing them stumbling out of an on-call room. She is spared from confessing, however, when Mark selflessly lies to her by telling her he had broken their promise long before as although he had feelings for her, he felt that she shouldn't have to feel guilty.

When she left SHG for a private practice in L.A., she had a brief interest in her co-worker Pete (whom she kissed) but gave up on any potential romance between the two after Pete stood her up for a date. She then directed her attention to Kevin, a police officer who has asked her out previously. Unfortunately, her trust issues interfered with her and Kevin; issues that resulted in her jealousy following Kevin after she thought he was having an affair and ending with her arrest by the SWAT team. Nonetheless, she confessed her issues to Kevin and they resumed to their relationship.

But more troubles came when Addison's brother came to visit, and told Kevin that she was just "enjoying him". When he hadn't called Addison back; she had thought he was avoiding her, but would find out he had been shot. When her brother left; Kevin moved in with her while he was recovering. While Addison now had to deal with Charlotte who was opening up a competing practice on the fourth floor, she was more annoyed by Dr. Wyatt Lockhart, a doctor working for Charlotte's practice who steals a patient of Addison's and convinces Naomi to work for her. In the midst of this, Addison and Kevin's different life styles get in the way of their relationship leading to him moving out. But Addison later calls him telling him she misses him, and they make up.

However, Addison kisses Wyatt after seeing him for who he really is, not the arrogant, headline grabber she thought he was. Kevin repeatedly questions her where she was that night and believes she's lying. Addison claims she was working, and just as Kevin was finally able to drop the questioning, she admits she kissed another man, and they break up. As Addison goes to Wyatt to try a new relationship, she catches Naomi having sex with Archer instead.

Noah and Addison frequently met in the scrub room over the period of the three months that Finishing took place, one of them always finishing surgery and scrubbing out and one scrubbing in, leading to their greeting of "Finishing or Starting?". They both continued to flirt, not knowing each other's names, and eventually meet in the doctor's lounge where Noah asks for her name. Looking shocked, he quickly leaves, and Addison later meets him as the husband of one of her pregnant patients, Morgan Gellman. Upon this discover, Addison quickly removed herself from Morgan's case, as she was not comfortable with her feelings for Noah while she treated his wife, feelings with Noah reciprocates. Addison decides not to make a move in their relationship, refusing to be a home wrecker, after her past mistakes with her ex-husband and his best friend. Noah, however, asks her not to leave the case, as she is the best in her field and Morgan cannot lose another child (she had a string of miscarriages prior to seeing Addison), and he will keep his feelings for Addison in check. However, Noah cannot help the way he feels, and Morgan realises her marriage is in jeopardy, asking Addison to save her child, as that is all that is keeping her and Noah together. She says she sees it in Noah's eyes, he's there, but he's not quite there. When Addison has to perform surgery on Morgan, Noah is not there for her and Morgan is willing to put off the surgery to have Addison find Noah and he eventually does to into the O.R to be there for Morgan, with a push from Addison


Addison is considered one of the best surgeons in her field in the world, having patients travel across the country to receive medical and surgical care from her, helped by her excellent bedside manner, but with her relocation to Los Angeles her surgical practice has become limited, with her practice being mostly obstetric work and occasionally genetic counselling with Naomi, however she does have privileges at St. Ambrose Hospital, allowing her to conduct her own surgeries, which she exercises that right frequently. Charlotte also calls on Addison to consult and take on complex medical cases from the hospital, also adding to her work load and increasing her O.R time.

She completed her residence under the supervision of her now good friend, Dr. Richard Webber (the same place she first met her future husband, Derek). During her residence, Richard have Addison a patient who would not survive, to teach Addison to not get too emotionally involved with her patients, as a result, Addison avoided Richard for almost a year. As an attending, she repeated the same trick with Izzie on one of the quintuplets the hospital was taking care of.

Addison's training also encompasses why she is regarded as one of the best surgeons in her field: she is certified Obstetrics and Gynaecology with her subspecialty being Maternal/Fetal Medicine (Perinatal medicine). In addition, she is also a board certified paediatric surgeon, sub-specialising in fetal surgery, neonatal surgery and has completed a two year fellowship in medical genetics, specialising in cystic fibrosis, supplementing her PhD in medical genetics. She is very open about her credentials, and has relayed them to a patient that has doubted her abilities.

Surgically, she is highly skilled in complex, often laprascopic and open, obstetrical, neo-natal and fetal surgeries. She is one of the only surgeons in the world who can separate fetal blood vessels and correct twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome.

She was formerly the surgeon in charge of a world class NICU at Seattle Grace Hospital. Although a highly successful and well paid job, Addison left Seattle to go to L.A. to join a private practice.

When she arrived at the practice she was surprised to discover that Naomi, who gave her the job offer, didn't tell the rest of the staff about Addison. The other doctors showed Addison that she was clearly not welcome. On her first day in the practice she performed surgery in an unsterilized Delivery Room only with the help of Alternative Medicine Specialist, Pete. On the end of the same day, they decided to vote on whether Addison should join the practice or not but Addison put her foot down and told them that she was going to stay even if they wanted her gone. Everyone was impressed by her speech and they decided not to vote after all.

When Richard asked Addison to return for a complex surgery, she agreed, and at the end of the day, Richard attempted to get her back and let her start the next morning. Addison declined the offer, being sure that leaving was the right thing to do. Similarly, when Naomi would not speak to Addison, Addison took a number of surgeries at St. Ambrose to relieve her frustrations. Charlotte tried to woo her to the hospital with the surgeries but Addison declared the practice as her "home".

In season two of Private Practice, Addison learnt that the practice was failing financially so confronted Sam and the two formed a hostile takeover. In a bid to get the practice back to how it used to be Addison accidentally prompted a vote between Sam and Naomi, but was stunned when she was elected to lead the practice as Addison's leadership shone through.


  • She is 39 in the season three finale of Grey's Anatomy.
  • In the back-door pilot episode of Private Practice it was revealed that Addison could no longer conceive, as her antral follicle count was only two.
  • Addison can quote Gandhi.
  • When Derek left her in New York, Addison dyed her hair blonde.
  • Since moving to L.A., Addison describes herself as very zen. She buys aroma therapy candles and takes walks on beaches.
  • When she worked for Seattle Grace Hospital, Richard was paying a salary that made her one of the highest paid surgeons in Northwestern United States.
  • She has special expertise in twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS).
  • Addison sometimes wears reading glasses.
  • She has her own lucky scrub cap.
  • Addison and her family are WASPs, they only go to Church on Christmas, and she does not know how to pray.
  • In the episode "In Which We Meet Addison, a Nice Girl From Somewhere Else", Addison tells Sam that 11 men have seen her naked (12 including him).
  • It has been noted that Addison's qualifications are unrealistic for a practising doctor in their last 30s/early 40s. Since Derek and she attended medical school together and were both educated by Richard, it is likely she completed a five year residence in general surgery followed by a 1-2 year fellowship in paediatric surgery, returning to complete a four year residence in obstetrics and gynaecology and by a three year fellowship in maternal-fetal medicine, with her likely to be two year fellowship in medical genetics following everything else. In reality, under best circumstances, would make Addison a minimum of 40 years old.