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Amelia Shepherd

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Amelia Shepherd
Biographical information


  • Amy
  • Hurricane Amelia
  • Shepherd's Little Sister
  • Shepherdess
  • The Other Shepherd

M.D., F.A.C.S.

Family information
Professional Information

Head of Neurosurgery

Character information
First appearance
Last appearance
Portrayed By
I am not fragile. I'm a drug addict. I've fallen off the wagon twice and I've gotten back on it. That doesn't make you fragile, Derek, that makes you very freaking strong.
Amelia Shepherd

Amelia Shepherd is the youngest sister of Derek Shepherd. Just like her older brother, she is a neurosurgeon, and she was officially employed at Seaside Health and Wellness with privileges at St. Ambrose Hospital. She relocated to Seattle and took Derek's job as the Head of Neurosurgery at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.


Early LifeEdit

When she was 5, she and Derek saw their father get murdered. She said that afterward her world fell apart and she was in a "dark place" for a long time. During her teens she was so wild and out of control that she was called Hurricane Amelia. To escape her pain she began using pills after a friend offered her her first one. She overdosed (accidentally) when she was a teenager and that almost killed her. She was dead for 3 minutes. This experience urged her to get sober, which she maintained to be for many years.

She walked in on Mark and her sister-in-law Addison in bed together but kept it secret from her brother.

Staying in Los AngelesEdit

Part of Dr. Geraldine Ginsberg's team, Amelia joined her boss to Los Angeles to consult on Kayla Lindy's case, knowing she would meet her former sister-in-law Addison Forbes Montgomery, as her name was all over the case. Dr. Ginsberg found there was nothing she could do for Kayla, but Amelia firmly offered the family an option of hope in the form an experimental surgery. Geraldine promptly fired Amelia from her team from stepping up to her, but Kayla's husband asked Amelia to perform the surgery. 

Reconciliation with DerekEdit

Despite not having talked to him for a while, when Amelia heard that Derek got shot, she was so shocked by this that she started smoking. Addison took her cigarettes away when they were going to visit Dell's grave, where Amelia mentioned that the world was a crappy place because of the horrible things that happened lately, like Dell's death and Derek being shot. When she got bored at Addison's house, she visited the practice, hoping there was a patient she could operate on. She talked to Addison and told her that she called and e-mailed Derek to find out how he was doing, but he did not return her calls, nor did he reply to her e-mails. Addison then told her that he was doing fine. Amelia was surprised that Derek had talked to Addison, while he hadn't talked to her. "That kinda says it all, doesn't it?" Amelia said. When Amelia later told Addison that she wanted to go somewhere, Addison told her to start in Seattle and convinced her that Derek already hated her, so she had nothing to lose by visiting him. "I'm gonna start in Seattle," Amelia then said. ("Take Two")


Amelia started her drug career in her youth. A friend of hers gave Amelia the first pills that numbed her pain of losing her father at a young age. One day, she took an overdose. After that, she decided to get sober for the first time. She stayed sober for many years. After she moved to Los Angeles, Amelia began drinking and developed an alcohol addiction. After some presure from Charlotte King and Sheldon Wallace, she got sober once again. She struggled a lot with her sobriety and after her friend Michelle commited suicide, Amelia started once again drinking and also took, for the first time in years, oxycodon again. During an AA meeting, she met Ryan Kerrigan. With him, her addiction spun out of control. Addison and the others at Seaside Wellness tried to help her and started an intervention. This initially had a good effect on her, but than Ryan came to the practice and they both took off. In their hotel room, both decided to take the last drugs they had and after that, to get help. The next morning, Amelia woke up and Ryan didn´t. Ryan died of an overdose. This experience destroyed Amelia. After the cops arrived, she told them to call Addison Forbes Montgomery. The cops should tell her that she was ready for rehab.

Pregnancy and BirthEdit

Amelia had a boyfriend Ryan with whom she did drugs when she relapsed after her best friend commited suicide. One night, they decided to take the rest of their drugs and get sober the next day. Amelia woke up the next morning to discover Ryan dead. She later found out she was pregnant (she thought she was just experiencing withdrawal symptoms). It turned out the baby was anencephalic (had no brain). She decided to donate the baby's organs. There was a lot of debate within the practice about it, though the organ donation ultimately occurred, saving the lives of several other infants.

Getting Her Life Back on TrackEdit

After donating her baby's organs, Amelia continued to go to meetings. Soon after she was one year sober, she met the new ER attending James Peterson, who showed off romantic interest towards Amelia. After some struggles, they began a relationship. At Sam and Naomi's second wedding, James promised her that they would get married one day.

Engagement and Relocating to SeattleEdit

Somewhere near the end of March 2014, James proposed to her. She accepted, but the engagement made her freak out.  She traveled to Seattle and told Derek what happened. She realized that the engagement meant that she was likely to face a different kind of life, the kind that he and Meredith have. So she came over and visit to see what it's like and get unfreaked. Happy to have found a temporary solution to his and Meredith's problem of combining their careers and familiy he left her to spend an entire day with the kids. She played with them, cooked dinner, and put them to bed, but when Meredith and Derek came home, they found a completely wrecked Amelia in a messy house. Amelia broke down and told them she couldn't do this. She confessed she didn't just come to Seattle to observe their life; she came here to see if she could do it. She wanted the whole kids, family, and career thing with James, but she realized that she just wouldn't be able to do it as she was already wrecked after one day. Having received an enormous blow to her self esteem, she ran off crying, followed by her brother Derek, who came after her to comfort her. ("Change of Heart")

She decided to stay with her brother in Seattle for a while. He worked together with her on a case to seperate conjoined twins who shared brain matter. Even though he unintentionally treated her like an incompetent surgeon, she (well aware that she was in his shadow) proved him wrong by saving the twin who was assigned to her care after the actual seperation. At the end of the day, Derek told her that Callie Torres needed an exceptional neurosurgeon for her project, as he was busy with the Presidential project now, and that he recommended her. Amelia objected that she didn't live in Seattle, but he suggested she should, adding he liked having her with him. ("We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together")

Amelia had several phone conversations with her fiancé while continuously postponing her return to Los Angeles, resulting in fights with James. She settled in and started bonding with Meredith. They had a surgery planned together, and during the preparation, Amelia ignored several incoming calls. Meredith told her that just because she and Derek were juggling their lives, they didn't need to keep Amelia from her work for that. Amelia snapped at her that she liked her better as the sister-in-law who didn't give a crap about her life and asked if they could go back that. In surgery, Meredith, thinking she and Derek made Amelia feel obligated to stay with them, told Amelia she could go back home when Derek would come from DC that night. Amelia thought she was kicking her out, but it was not that, as Meredith and Derek love having her in Seattle, but they didn't want to keep her from her life. Amelia was extremely relieved, as she loved Seattle as well. She compared to her life in Los Angeles, where she would've had a six-hour conversation if she'd snapped at someone like she did at Meredith. She then revelaed that her fights with James weren't about her leaving for Seattle; they were about her not wanting to ever leave again. After the surgery, she confided in Meredith that James is amazing and that he helped her through some stuff, but now she's on the other side and she - realizing it sounds horrible - doesn't need him anymore. She said that at the end of the night, after having no more way of avoiding it, she would call James and break his heart by telling him she couldn't do this anymore, knowing he deserves better. ("Everything I Try to Do, Nothing Seems to Turn Out Right")

Now that Amelia decided to stay in Seattle, Derek was ready to let her take over his service so he and Meredith could move to DC for his brainmapping project. Amelia started taking over his service on a couple of days in the week, even though he occasionally would hover over her. After a day with a lot of traumas and not losing even one patient, Amelia told Meredith that she felt so, so good about the whole situation. She didn't care anymore that she was in Derek's shadow, although the only thing that could even make her feel better was if his shadow were gone. She said she thus was okay if he and Meredith were to move to DC and be happy there. However, Meredith decided to stay in Seattle, leaving Derek to choose between to stay with his family in Seattle or pursue his professional dreams. ("Fear (of the Unknown)")

Finding Her Footing in SeattleEdit

After he decided to move to D.C., Amelia took over Derek's job as Head of Neurosurgery at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. Now permanently staying with her brother and sister-in-law, she witnessed their hour-long fight. She soon found her way to the AA meetings in Seattle, where she heard how Richard confessed that he had a daughter. She promised to keep his secret safe, as it was anonymous for a reason. ("I Must Have Lost It on the Wind")

Amelia, being one of the few people to know about Richard's relation to Maggie, befriended the latter when they worked together on a case of a young girl who suffered a stroke during sexual activity. Amelia especially loved the fact that Maggie referred to Derek as the other Shepherd, whereas it usually is the other way around. Amelia became kind of jealous of her patient, as it had been a long time since she'd had really great sex, or any sex at all, a feeling that Maggie recognized. This bonded them even more, causing Maggie to open up about her problems with Meredith. Amelia assured her that while it's hard to get to know Meredith at first, she genuinely is worth knowing. ("Puzzle With a Piece Missing")

Having decided to stay in Seattle for his family, Derek couldn't help but interfere in Amelia's cases. She called him out on that and made it clear that she was now the Head of Neurosurgery. However, this didn't stop him from taking the lead on a case of hers, as he claimed it got too big for her and that he was the rightful leader of the department, having more experience on a higher level than she has. He operated on her patient behind her back, enfuriating her upon finding out. She later had a talk with her brother, revealing that he was frustrated that Meredith indirectly made him feel obligated to stay. He'd never taken a step back in his career, which is why he tried to reclaim the leadership of the department. Amelia told him she recognized the feeling, as it was what he was doing to her. He assured her he hadn't done it intentionally. He was just trying to live with his choice, which Amelia pointed out she was doing too. ("Got to Be Real")

Finding out that Maggie was going to quit, Amelia tried to stop her from doing so by getting Derek on a case with Maggie, urging them to talk. Maggie didn't bring up that Richard and Ellis are her biological parents, and Amelia didn't want to tell Derek herself as she found out about in AA and promised Richard not to tell anyone. She did encourage Derek to talk to Meredith, but since they were fighting, Derek went to ask Maggie why Amelia wanted him to talk to his wife so badly. Maggie then revealed her secret. ("Only Mama Knows")

Amelia was seen having a conversation with Nicole Herman about Addison and her son Henry. ("Bend & Break")

Finally having found her footing, Amelia was thrown off when a woman she knew from Narcotics Anonymous spilled her addiction secrets at the hospital. Derek failed to support her and even gave Owen the idea to take her job. With everyone at the hospital gossiping about her, Amelia firmly stood by her right not to tell anyone more about her problems. While Derek convinced the board that Amelia was doing her job very well, Amelia found comfort with her sister-in-law Meredith. After going to a meeting, Amelia came home, telling Derek she'd move out the next day as she couldn't forgive him for not having her back from the beginning. He revealed he felt miserable and that he didn't know what to do with life anymore, always trying to do right by the people around him, but instead hurting them. She very well knew the feeling, that she named rock bottom. ("Could We Start Again, Please?")

Brain Project and Falling for Owen Edit

After hearing about Dr. Herman's lethal brain tumor, Amelia was interested in examining it. She, with some help from Arizona, stole her files and brain scans and quickly came to the conclusion that she could be able to save her. Dr. Herman was skeptical at first, but eventually agreed to her plan. Amelia then presented her complex plans to Dr. Webber and the residents, getting through to no-one, until Stephanie Edwards finally got it, thus earning a place in the project.

During this time, Amelia also began to bond with Owen, whom she liked and respected. She opened up to him about her addiction, and he, in return, spoke to her about his tough past, and they both agreed to be there, if the other ever needed someone to talk to. The two got even closer when April and Jackson's baby died, causing Amelia to tell Owen about her own child in the hospital's chapel. Owen then held her hand and the two shared a look.

After the incident in the chapel, Amelia became nervous and cautious around Owen, having no idea how to act on her emotions. The feeling, however, was mutual, resulting in the two having awkward and stammering dialogue. Amelia eventually decided to go for it and went to visit him, offering him a bottle of sparkling water, as she herself didn't drink wine. Quickly realizing the clumsiness of the gesture, she gave him the bottle and was about to leave, when he he asked her to stop, walked over to her and kissed her.


Amelia has spunk and is always very outspoken and charismatic. She is that "badass" type of girl who doesn't let anything or anyone get in her way. She seems to have slight trust issues also, because of her troubled past. After overcoming her drug problems, she appears to have matured. Her dark backstory changed her, although she remains straight-shooting, sarcastic and funny. She sometimes appears to be tough and closed off, but she's also warm and overbearingly compassionate.



Amelia has had several romantic flings, but none very serious. She has told Sam that she doesn't have "anything or anyone" so it appears unlikely that she is the mother of any of the 9 nieces and 5 nephews that Derek had referred previously.

Ryan KerriganEdit

Amelia got serious with Ryan, whom she met at a club and subsequently slept with. Amelia and Ryan became very close with their common drug addiction, going on a drug binge for twelve days where they slept together and did drugs. After a failed intervention with the Oceanside Wellness Group, Amelia returned to her hotel room with Ryan where they made the pact to "get clean" after consuming the last bit of the drugs they had; Amelia passed out and woke to find Ryan dead next to her. After the ordeal, Amelia checked herself into a rehab facility. After she fully recovered, she discovered she was pregnant with Ryan's baby.

She discovered it quite late, because she assumed the symptoms were withdrawal symptoms. When Addison gave Amelia her first ultrasound, she discovered her baby boy was anencephalic, meaning he would be born without a brain. During the pregnancy, Amelia decided to donate her baby's organs to save other babies all over the country. After some difficulties with St. Ambrose Hospital's lawyers and an ethical disagreement with Sam, the baby's organs were donated.

James PetersonEdit

James and Amelia worked together at St. Ambrose. James kept asking her out, but she rejected him. When they finally went out, he didn't kiss her at the end of the date. He did that twice, which is why Amelia decided to go on a date with someone else. When she was getting ready to go to the date, James showed up at her house and said he couldn't stand the anticipation, and they finally kissed, starting off their relationship. At Naomi and Sam's wedding, he told her they were going to be the ones to get married someday. In March 2014, he proposed to her. She accepted, but the fact that she was facing a new kind of life made her freak out and flee to Seattle, to find out if she could live a life like her brother Derek and his wife Meredith.

Mark SloanEdit

Amelia and Mark had a brief sexual relationship during her visit in Seattle after the mass shooting. Amelia was shocked when she heard of Mark's death in the aftermath of the plane crash.

Owen Hunt Edit

After some time in Seattle, Amelia began to bond with Owen, as they could relate to each other's rough pasts and offer support to one another, and quickly found herself developing feelings for him. Having stayed out of the dating game for so long, she wasn't exactly sure how to approach him, but after some awkward encounters with him, she decided to act on her feelings and went to visit him with a bottle of water, which resulted in a kiss.


Addison Forbes MontgomeryEdit

She is very close to her former sister-in-law, Addison and says that she has always been a better sister to her then her real sisters. She has three sisters and one brother. She does not believe in God and does not think that people can change. She doesn't give details but she tells Sam that she has "done stuff... bad stuff". She prefers to try and help other people with their personal problems rather than deal with her own life.

Amelia shut out Addison when Addison informed her that her baby had no brain. When Amelia was in labor, she accepted Addison's help and they renewed their friendship.

Sheldon WallaceEdit

He helped her give up drugs. After Amelia's rehabilitation, Sheldon had a hard time forgiving her for the mistakes she made when she was using. After a short time, they reconsidered. Amelia mentioned to him that he had to live a long life, so that she could make everything he did for her up to him.

Charlotte King Edit

Amelia and Charlotte were close friends. Both suffered from a history with drugs and went to AA meetings together.

Career Edit

Amelia graduated at the top of her class at Harvard Medical School, completed her surgical residency at Johns Hopkins, and followed up with a neurosurgical fellowship.

She is board certified in neurosurgery and was employed as one of Dr. Geraldine Ginsberg's teaching fellows until Ginsberg fired her for discussing with a patient's husband a surgery that Ginsberg did not recommend and considered highly experimental, which was successful.

She is a world-class neurosurgeon like Derek and although talking to her brother about her situation could help her find a new position she does not want to call him because of the "lectures and the "I told you so"s and the "You screwed up again"s that she fears will follow. Amelia takes risks in surgeries and at times appears very confident in her own abilities but when problems arise she can become overwhelmed with self-doubt. Sam had to push her to finish her surgery on Addison's comatose patient after complications arose.

After she was fired by Dr. Ginsberg, Amelia worked as a neurosurgeon at the Oceanside Wellness Group. After this practice was dissolved, Amelia continued working at Seaside Health and Wellness, the successor of the Oceanside Wellness Group. While working at both practices, Amelia held hospital priviliges at St. Ambrose Hospital.

A few years later, she went to Seattle to visit her brother and sister-in-law as well as their kids. While she was there, she was given privileges at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital and eventually started taking over her brother's practice. Since he planned to move to D.C., she took over his job and became the Head of Neurosurgery.

Notes and TriviaEdit

  • She has a freckle that looks like Indiana.
  • Although she mentioned Derek is the only one who can call her Amy, Meredith calls her Amy and has her in her phone address book under the name Amy as well.
  • Amelia was contacted when Derek needed a nerve after the plane crash, but she didn't answer the call and presumably never replied to the message Heather left her.
  • Because Amelia completed a surgical residency prior to a neurosurgery fellowship, she is also board certified in general surgery, but because neurosurgery is considered a sub-specialty of general surgery, Amelia is not "double-board certified", as board certification in general surgery is required to obtain board certification in neurosurgery.
  • Amelia was dead for three minutes after an overdose of pills. She stated that this pushed her get sober after.
  • Amelia was the first person to know about Addison's affair with Mark, but she never told anyone because she was loyal to Addison and considered her a better sister than the ones she had.
  • Amelia was with Derek when their father was shot.
  • Amelia has her father's watch and gave it to Ryan. After Ryan's death, she took the watch back.


A more complete gallery with pictures of Amelia Shepherd can be found here.

Notable EpisodesEdit

These episodes are Amelia-centric or otherwise very informative about her life.

Memorable QuotesEdit

Amelia: I can remove the tumor and the carotid infiltrated together, you have to put a catheter in the femoral ball in a precise position, inflate them to stop the blood flow, making two arteriotomies, attach a heparinized shunt and restore irrigation.
Lexie: That's all?
Amelia: Ohhh ... and do it in ninety seconds. Any longer and she strokes out.


Grey's Anatomy, Season 7


Grey's Anatomy, Season 8

Have You Seen Me Lately?

Grey's Anatomy, Season 10

Change of Heart · We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together · Everything I Try to Do, Nothing Seems to Turn Out Right · Fear (of the Unknown)

Grey's Anatomy, Season 11

I Must Have Lost It on the Wind · Puzzle With a Piece Missing · Got to Be Real · Only Mama Knows · Bend & Break · Could We Start Again, Please? · Risk · Where Do We Go From Here · The Bed's Too Big Without You · All I Could Do Was Cry · The Great Pretender · Staring at the End · The Distance · I Feel the Earth Move · Don't Dream It's Over · With or Without You · When I Grow Up

Private Practice, Season 3

Eyes Wide Open · Second Choices · War · In the Name of Love · The End of a Beautiful Friendship

Private Practice, Season 4

Take Two · Short Cuts · Playing God · A Better Place to Be · In or Out · All in the Family · Did You Hear What Happened to Charlotte King? · What Happens Next · Can't Find My Way Back Home · Just Lose It · If You Don't Know Me By Now · Heaven Can Wait · Blind Love · Home Again · Two Steps Back · Love and Lies · A Step Too Far · The Hardest Part · What We Have Here... · Something Old, Something New · God Bless the Child · ...To Change the Things I Can

Private Practice, Season 5

God Laughs · Breaking the Rules · Deal With It · Remember Me · Step One · If I Hadn't Forgotten... · Don't Stop 'Till You Get Enough · Who We Are · The Breaking Point · Are You My Mother? · The Standing Eight Count · Losing Battles · The Time Has Come · Too Much · You Break My Heart · Andromeda · The Letting Go · It Was Inevitable · And Then There Was One · True Colors · Drifting Back · Gone, Baby, Gone

Private Practice, Season 6

Aftershock · Mourning Sickness · Good Grief · You Don't Know What You've Got Till It's Gone · The Next Episode · Apron Strings · The World According to Jake · Life Support · I'm Fine · Georgia on My Mind · Good Fries Are Hard to Come By · Full Release · In Which We Say Goodbye

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