Grey's Anatomy: Amelia's Brain Tumor Explains These 14 Crazy Plotlines (2023)

It's no exaggeration to say that Amelia Shepherd's (Caterina Scorsone) behavior has been a little off the rails since she joined Grey's Anatomy in Season 7. So off the rails, in fact, that the creators this season (under returning co-showrunner Krista Vernoff) opted to write in a brain tumor storyline for the character to explain some of her more bizarre moves over the past six-and-counting seasons on Grey's... not to mention on her previous show, Private Practice.

Amelia's told that her tumor has likely been growing for close to 10 years, and that every decision she's made in that time might have been affected by it. "The part of your brain that makes plans is compromised. Your plans, your judgment, your decision-making, your impulse control, it's all tumor," her doctor, Thomas Korracick (guest star Greg Germann) tells her. "You are not of sound mind now, and you haven't been for years."

(Video) 14 Grey's Anatomy Moments That Could Be Blamed on Amelia's Tumor

Grey's Anatomy boss talks Amelia's brain tumor

But what exactly would fall under that umbrella? We decided to take a look at Amelia's actions over the past 10 years (i.e. the entire time she's been on Grey's - don't forget about that three-year time jump), to determine what role her tumor may have played in them.

Mitch Haaseth, ABC

1. Standing up to her boss, getting fired, and performing a miracle surgery. One of the biggest potential brain tumor red flags is Amelia's god complex as of late. But, as Private Practice fans are well aware, she's been (over?)confident for a while now. Remember when, in her first appearance on the show, she openly defied her boss Geraldine Ginsberg (Nora Dunn), got fired as a result, and went on to perform an experimental surgery on a surrogate mother against the wishes of the adoptive parents? Luckily, that all worked out in the end - the surrogate mother and triplets all survived, and Amelia eventually landed a job working with her former sister-in-law, Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh).

2. Taking up smoking. Allegedly, Amelia's newfound habit was her way of dealing with the fact that her brother Derek (Patrick Dempsey) had been shot... despite the fact that the two of them were estranged. Hmmm. We'll take "Brain Tumor" for 500, Alex.

(Video) grey's anatomy s14x02 amelia has a tumor

3. Sleeping with Mark Sloan. When Amelia goes to Seattle to visit Derek after he won't return her calls in the wake of the mass shooting, the Shepherd siblings relive the shared trauma of seeing their father get murdered during a robbery. Before she heads to the airport, Amelia sneaks in a quickie with her brother's best friend, Mark Sloan (Eric Dane).

4. Operating on a man while drunk. After an accidental sip of champagne that she thought was ginger ale shoved Amelia back into the throes of alcoholism, she started drinking behind her colleagues' backs and once even performed a surgery while drunk. Brain tumor? Maybe. But Amelia struggled with substance abuse issues for a long time before her tumor formed.

5. Trying to help her best friend commit suicide. This is a tough one, but arguably, Amelia's decision to defy her colleagues and assist in her best friend Michelle's (Sydney Tamiia Poitier) suicide - even though that's considered murder in California - could be blamed on her tumor. Though that attempt wasn't successful, Michelle's subsequent solo suicide, via an overdose, caused Amelia to start combining pills with her booze.

6. Dating Ryan. There's a whole subcategory of Amelia behaviors that may be the result of her addiction, or her tumor, or some combination of both. Entering into a relationship with her pill-snorting one night stand-turned-boyfriend Ryan (Wes Brown) - highlights of which included Amelia writing prescriptions for both of them, quitting her job at the practice, nearly getting arrested while trying to break into said practice, and eventually waking up next to Ryan's corpse after he died of an overdose - can probably be blamed on the former. But it's likely her tumor had some role in it as well.

(Video) Greys Anatomy | Amelia Shepard superhero pose + Dr Herman’s tumour surgery-S11 E14

7. Ditching her fiancé James and moving to Seattle. Amelia's colleagues on Grey's Anatomy have already started to speculate whether even her arrival at Grey Sloan in the first place can be blamed on her brain growth. As Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) noted in last week's episode: "She left a thriving practice and a fiancé in L.A. to come and live with her brother, who she resented. That was the tumor." And yeah, Mer's probably right. Amelia's transition from Private Practice to Grey's Anatomy came after she and her boyfriend James officially got engaged (offscreen, after Private Practice had ended) and she came to Seattle to get an idea of what domesticity was like by observing her brother Derek, his wife Meredith and their kids. After babysitting for less than 24 hours, Amelia decided she wasn't cut out for marriage and family life, had a nervous breakdown, decided to stay in Seattle, and broke up with James over the phone. Tumor alert!

8. Performing a risky operation on Dr. Herman. Amelia has already ticked off all the unsuccessful operations she's performed that need to be reviewed in light of her tumor diagnosis, but the one that fans will probably remember is, ironically, the one where she removed a seemingly inoperable brain tumor from her colleague, head of fetal surgery Nicole Herman (Geena Davis). Herman survived the surgery, but suffered a stroke that left her blind.

9. Acting hot and cold with Owen. At the start of their relationship (and really, throughout the entire thing, if we're being honest), Amelia has a pattern of drawing close to Owen (Kevin McKidd) and then pushing him away. Though she chalked it up to her fear of getting into another serious relationship, it was probably her tumor talking.

Grey's Anatomy: Amelia's Brain Tumor Explains These 14 Crazy Plotlines (2)
(Video) Amelia Shepherd Realizes She's Pregnant - Grey's Anatomy

10. Not dealing with Derek's death. Granted, Amelia was abandoned by those closest to her (Meredith and Owen) in the wake of her brother's death, but throwing herself obsessively into work and cracking jokes about it in front of her (and Derek's) colleagues was probably not the best way to address her loss. She also came this close to using Oxy again, but luckily Owen talked her out of it. In a subsequent argument with Meredith, Amelia said that if someone had called her after Derek's fatal car crash, she may have been able to save him. There's that god complex at work again.

11. Almost leaving Owen at the altar... Once she and Owen decided once and for all to actually give a real relationship a shot, Amelia went full steam ahead, proposing to him after only a few weeks. Amelia's mother and sisters refused to come to the wedding, believing it to be yet another rash decision (ahem) on Amelia's part. After a brief Runaway Bride detour with Meredith and Maggie (Kelly McCreary), Amelia went through with the wedding...

12. ... and then leaving for real. Almost immediately, Amelia began to doubt her decision to marry Owen when they actually hardly know each other. A pregnancy scare, and the relief that she felt when the test came back negative, caused Amelia to question her long-held desire to have kids. She kept her feelings secret from Owen before walking out on him and leaving him a letter asking not to come after her. She moved in with Stephanie (Jerrika Hinton), and childishly avoided Owen both in and out of the hospital.

(Video) Amelia Admits to Link That She Thinks About Using - Grey's Anatomy

13. Giving Owen and Megan the cold shoulder. When Owen's presumed-dead sister Megan (Abigail Spencer) was found alive in Iraq and brought to Grey Sloan, she immediately began questioning her brother about his marriage to Amelia, since Amelia appeared to be throwing herself into work and avoiding quality time with Owen and his family at all costs. When Owen confronted her about it, she accused him of being in love with his best friend Teddy Altman (Kim Raver). There's certainly some truth there, as the two shared a kiss even before Amelia's accusations, but her awkward avoidance of Megan is probably tumor-driven.

14. Performing a risky jaw surgery. Amelia clashed with Jackson (Jesse Williams) early in Season 14 after going behind his back to perform surgery on a young boy that would require his jaw to be reconstructed (by Jackson). It was ultimately successful, but as Jackson pointed out, Amelia's arrogance on these risky surgeries has worked in her favor so far, but her luck will only hold out for so long.

Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8/7c on ABC.


What episode of GREY's anatomy does Amelia find out about her brain tumor? ›

While participating in Andrew DeLuca's sister's study, Amelia has an MRI, which reveals she has a massive brain tumor. Watch this scene from Season 14, Episode 2, 'Get Off on the Pain' and don't miss Grey's Anatomy THURSDAYS 8|7c on ABC.

How did Amelia find out she had a brain tumor? ›

Now this is a tumor! Amelia's went undiscovered for years, impacting her personality and giving her a propensity for risky behavior—which understandably caused her a great deal of psychological stress when she found out about it in Season 14 while doing an MRI for Carina DeLuca's orgasm study.

What does Amelia do about her tumor? ›

But eventually, Dr. Herman agreed to the risky tumor excision. She survived the tense surgery, and Amelia had successfully removed the tumor, but Dr. Herman didn't wake up for several days afterward.

Does Amelia have a brain tumor in season 14? ›

Amelia Shepherd had a brain tumor in season

Amelia Shepherd, sister of heartthrob Derek Shepherd, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in season 14. Amelia's character started out on one of Grey's Anatomy's spinoffs, Private Practice.

Who took out Amelia's brain tumor? ›

That tumor that Tom Koracick (Greg Germann) cuts out of her brain in a brief pause between verses of Jan & Dean's “Fun Fun Fun” is massive. When she wakes up, Amelia can't speak.

What happens in Season 14 episode 5 of GREY's anatomy? ›

As promised, Grey's Anatomy delivers an episode focused solely on Megan Hunt, featuring the lead up to her disappearance in Iraq, and her relationships then and now with both her brother Owen and her fiancé Nathan. Aside from a few very brief scenes with Meredith and Amelia, this is all about the Hunt siblings.

Does Amelia survive the brain tumor? ›

When Krista first told you about the storyline, did you have any concerns that you were being written off the show? Krista was very good about leading with the reassuring part. I wasn't concerned. Amelia survives her tumor removal.

How long did Amelia Shepherd have a tumor? ›

Amelia's told that her tumor has likely been growing for close to 10 years, and that every decision she's made in that time might have been affected by it. "The part of your brain that makes plans is compromised.

What celebrities have meningioma? ›

The singer Sheryl Crow, the actresses Elizabeth Taylor, Mary Tyler Moore, Kate Walsh and Maria Menounos are some celebrities diagnosed with the same type of tumor in the brain: meningioma. One of the most frequent among adults and that affects more to women.

What was Amelia addicted to? ›

During her entire time in the world of Grey's Anatomy, Amelia has constantly battled with addiction. Unlike Webber, another addict, Amelia's choice of drug was opioids.

Does Amelia Shepherd survive brain surgery? ›

Shepherd's brain surgery finally happened, and it was an emotional rollercoaster for everyone at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. Her surgeon and mentor, Tom Koracick (Greg Germann), made a slight slip up during the operation that scared everyone, but in the end she was OK.

Who does Amelia Shepherd end up with? ›

Later, she marries Owen but expresses doubt and second thoughts before the wedding in the season 12 finale.

Does Amelia change after her tumor? ›

She Realizes She Has A Brain Tumor

Amelia grows a lot after this, as there's a reason for her behavior, and that she doesn't have to be the same person that she always has been.

Is a meningioma a brain Tumour? ›

A meningioma is a primary central nervous system (CNS) tumor. This means it begins in the brain or spinal cord. Overall, meningiomas are the most common type of primary brain tumor. However, higher grade meningiomas are very rare.

Does Bailey get fired? ›

Bailey finally decided to put her well-being first after Grey-Sloan's residency program was cut. She quit in the final episode, handing her office keys to Meredith.

Who is the father of Amelia's daughter? ›

As Samson tried to convince Amelia to have a termination, Noah ordered him to "back off". This is when others in the village started overhearing the commotion — including Dan, Sam and Lydia! A furious Dan went after Noah until Amelia explained that Samson is actually the child's father.

Is Amelia's baby Lincoln's? ›

When Amelia asks Linc if he really wants to raise the baby together — even if “he” isn't his, suggesting the mom-to-be learned her child's sex — Linc finally says he does. So Amelia kisses him and says, “I got the results. And he is yours.” Amelia's baby isn't Owen's son.

Does Amelia have a baby without a brain? ›

In 2012's “And Then There Was One,” Amelia learns her baby, who is a boy, will be born without a brain. Although Amelia is devastated to find out her child will have a terminal genetic disorder, she decides to carry the pregnancy to term.

What happens in season 14 Episode 15 of GREY's anatomy? ›

The patient is a teenaged boy in the throes of his first love, and the plan changes to a heart transplant after his boyfriend breaks up with him and his heart loses all poetic meaning. But you can't stop poetry: when Maggie puts it in, she finds his donor's heart doesn't fit.

What happens in season 14 Episode 13 of GREY's anatomy? ›

Two boys injured in a house fire are brought to Grey Sloan and firefighter Andy Herrera's skills are put to the test when one of the boys is near death.

What happens in season 14 Episode 7 of GREY's anatomy? ›

Greg needs a spinal fusion, and Webber and Bailey are operating on him when Webber calls him “O'Malley.” He tells Bailey that it'll be good to be able to save this O'Malley. It turns out Not Izzie's baby has a tumor and she is experiencing Mirror Syndrome, where everything her fetus is going through, she also feels.

Is Amelia Shepherd dead? ›

She overdosed and was dead for 3 minutes until Derek saved her life. This experience urged her to get sober, which she maintained to be for many years. She said it lasted so long that her studious nature made her spend "the bulk of her twenties in a library".

What happens to Amelia in GREY's anatomy? ›

After Ryan's death, Amelia decided to go to rehab. When she returned, she found out that she was pregnant with her boyfriend's baby. However, the baby was born without a brain and died shortly after Amelia gave birth.

Who does Jo Wilson end up with? ›

In the finale episode “Perfect Storm”, Alex confesses his feelings to Jo and they kiss. In the tenth season, Jo is now a resident and in a relationship with Alex.

Does Owen find out about Amelia's tumor? ›

Amelia, with the help of Maggie, finally tells her husband and her sister about her brain tumor. Owen and Meredith are immediately by Amelia's side as she checks into the hospital and prepares for surgery.

Who is Amelia Shepherd's first baby? ›

Christopher Shepherd was the child of Ryan Kerrigan and Amelia Shepherd.

What is the life expectancy of meningioma? ›

The 5-year survival rate for malignant meningioma is over 67%. The 10-year survival rate for malignant meningioma is almost 61%. The person's age and whether the tumor is cancerous affect survival rates for meningioma, along with other factors.

Is meningioma a terminal illness? ›

Often, meningiomas cause no symptoms and require no immediate treatment. But the growth of benign meningiomas can cause serious problems. In some cases, such growth can be fatal.

Who is most likely to get meningioma? ›

Meningioma is most common in adults age 65 or older, but it can occur at any age. Meningioma is rare in children. Gender. Women are about twice as likely as men to develop noncancerous meningioma.

What episode does Amelia go crazy on Private Practice? ›

The Seaside Wellness group stages an intervention for a defensive and volatile Amelia, who has resurfaced after disappearing on a 12-day drug binge with her boyfriend, Ryan.

Why does Amelia relapse? ›

Amelia relapsed into drug addiction on Private Practice, and she fell in love with a fellow addict named Ryan. After a tense intervention by Addison (Kate Walsh) and her co-workers, Amelia and Ryan agreed to get sober after one last drug binge.

What happened to Amelia's baby? ›

She later learned that she was carrying his child. In another devastating turn of events, an ultrasound revealed that the infant — who Amelia named Christopher — was anencephalic (had an underdeveloped brain) and would die shortly after birth.

Does Derek operate on the inoperable tumor? ›

Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) performs an operation on a hospital technician's "inoperable" tumor, despite the objections of the chief of surgery, Dr. Richard Webber (James Pickens, Jr.).

What gender is Dr Kai Bartley? ›

When E.R. Fightmaster booked the role of neuroscientist Kai Bartley on “Grey's Anatomy,” they immediately understood the weight of responsibility that comes with portraying the ABC medical drama's first nonbinary character in 18 seasons.

Is Kai Bartley a man or woman? ›

Character Information

Kai Bartley is a non-binary lesbian character from Grey's Anatomy.

Who is Amelia Shepherd's new love? ›

Who is Amelia's new love interest on 'Grey's Anatomy'? Amelia's been crushing on the same person for several episodes of Season 18. Their name is Dr. Kai Bartley, and they're working on the Parkinson's project in Minnesota along with Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Amelia.

Do Amelia and Owen get back together after the tumor? ›

While the divorce came right after Amelia's brain tumor's diagnosis and removal, and their relationship rekindled when they adopted Leo and Betty at the end of Grey's Anatomy season 14, it finally ended in Grey's Anatomy season 15 episode 15.

Can you live a full life with meningioma? ›

Though meningioma patients are never completely "out of the woods," you can live a normal life while you're being vigilant with regular brain imaging.

What does a meningioma headache feel like? ›

They are often described as dull, "pressure-type" headaches, though some patients also experience sharp or "stabbing" pain. They can be localized to a specific area or generalized. They can be made worse with coughing, sneezing or straining.

Can you survive a meningioma? ›

What is the survival rate for meningioma patients? Currently, more than 90% of adults between the ages of 20 and 44 survive for five years or longer after being diagnosed with meningioma. This encouraging survival rate includes many patients who have gone on to live several decades after their diagnosis.

Who does Bailey remarry? ›

Ben Warren

Does Bailey's son survive? ›

Sadly, Reed never had a shot at survival, and Dr. Bailey (Chandra Wilson) had to watch Charles die in her arms because the lifts were turned off during the emergency and she couldn't get into an operating room in time to save him.

Do Ben and Bailey get divorced? ›

Do Ben and Miranda get divorced? Bailey accepts the position as an attending general surgeon and divorces her husband for presenting her with the ultimatum, stating she will not have the time to learn a new specialty as a single mother.

What episode does Amelia find out her baby doesn't have a brain? ›

In 2012's “And Then There Was One,” Amelia learns her baby, who is a boy, will be born without a brain.

Does Amelia get her brain tumor removed? ›

When Krista first told you about the storyline, did you have any concerns that you were being written off the show? Krista was very good about leading with the reassuring part. I wasn't concerned. Amelia survives her tumor removal.

Does Amelia's baby have a brain? ›

Her son, Christopher, was born without a brain due to a genetic birth defect. It was absolutely devastating, and Amelia doesn't talk about it that much on the show. She couldn't even tell Owen until they'd been married and then separated.

What happened to the doctor with the brain tumor on GREY's anatomy? ›

After she became blind following the surgery to remove her brain tumor, Nicole was left unable to operate and resigned.

What happens to Amelia and Ryan's baby? ›

Unfortunately, Ryan overdoses and dies. Amelia wakes up next to her dead fiancé and later learns she is pregnant with his child. However, the baby, who Amelia names Christopher, is born without a frontal lobe, causing him to die in Amelia's arms soon after his birth.

Who is the biological father of Amelia's baby? ›

Unfortunately, the timeline of their relationship doesn't lie: The father of Amelia's baby is actually Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd).

What did Allison see on Amelia's ultrasound? ›

Not only did she have to face having a child without the man she loved, but an ultrasound revealed that Amelia's baby would be born without a frontal lobe, and thus would die soon after being born.


1. Addison and Amelia Reunite - Grey's Anatomy
2. everything wrong with grey's anatomy...
3. Amelia's Heart-to-Heart with Her Mom - Grey's Anatomy Season 15 Episode 21
4. Amelia Says "It's Not Your Fault" - Grey's Anatomy
5. Maggie punches Homophobic Mom -Grey’s ANATOMY 🌈 S12-E1
(Smokie Davis)
6. Private Practice 5x22 - Amelia - Scene 7
(Caterina Online)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Jerrold Considine

Last Updated: 01/02/2023

Views: 6005

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (58 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Jerrold Considine

Birthday: 1993-11-03

Address: Suite 447 3463 Marybelle Circles, New Marlin, AL 20765

Phone: +5816749283868

Job: Sales Executive

Hobby: Air sports, Sand art, Electronics, LARPing, Baseball, Book restoration, Puzzles

Introduction: My name is Jerrold Considine, I am a combative, cheerful, encouraging, happy, enthusiastic, funny, kind person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.