'Bridgerton' is Shonda Rhimes' latest hit show - here are 13 things you might not know about her

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ellen pompeo shonda rhimes
Ellen Pompeo and Shonda Rhimes. Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for GLSEN
  • Shonda Rhimes, the prolific creator of "Grey's Anatomy," "Scandal," and more, signed a multi-million dollar deal with Netflix back in 2017.

  • The first series from that deal, "Bridgerton," is Netflix's latest hit — it's projected to reach 63 million households within its first 28 days.

  • Rhimes has been in TV for almost two decades — this is what you need to know about her.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

"Bridgerton," the first show from producer Shonda Rhimes' landmark Netflix deal, is shaping up to be the streaming service's first major hit of 2021. According to Netflix, the series, which was released on December 25, will be watched by 63 million households in its first 28 days.

Rhimes is best known for creating the hugely successful, 17-season-long "Grey's Anatomy." For as long as Twitter's been around, every Thursday night, the timeline has been flooded with tweets cursing Rhimes' name, usually for something devastating that's happened on the medical drama.

But Rhimes has done plenty of other things in her career, including writing two films and a memoir.

Keep scrolling for 13 facts you may not know about Rhimes.

Shonda Rhimes grew up in the Chicago area and remains very dedicated to the city's pizza.

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Shonda Rhimes in 2017. Gregg DeGuire/WireImage/Getty Images

Rhimes, who now lives in Los Angeles, is so dedicated to her home city that she gets Chicago deep-dish pizza flown in every Christmas Eve, she told Food & Wine in 2017. Her favorite comes from Illinois restaurant chain Aurelio's, she told the publication.

She's the youngest of six kids - two older brothers and three older sisters.

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Shonda Rhimes in 2016. Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Vulture Festival

While growing up in University Park, she shared a room with one of her sisters, Sandie, she wrote in her book, "Year of Yes." Both of her parents were educators.

Rhimes earned her BA from Dartmouth College.

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Rhimes on "The Mindy Project." Hulu

Much like her own creation Meredith Grey, Rhimes graduated from Dartmouth College. She even cameoed as herself in fellow Dartmouth grad Mindy Kaling's show "The Mindy Project," when she attended a Dartmouth alumni beer pong game.

After Dartmouth, she earned her MFA from the USC School of Cinema-Television in 1994.

Her first real screenwriting credit was the 1999 HBO TV film, "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge," starring Halle Berry.

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Shonda Rhimes in 2008. Mark Mainz/Getty Images for NAACP

Although Rhimes wasn't nominated for the screenplay, the film was overall well-received and earned multiple Emmy nominations, including for Outstanding Television Movie, and a win for Berry.

The first feature film she ever wrote was 2001's "Crossroads," starring Britney Spears.

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Shonda Rhimes in 2020. George Pimentel/Getty Images

Speaking to Broadly in 2016, Rhimes said of Spears, "She was very cheerful, very fun. I think it was so different from being on the road and doing concerts — being able to stay in one place and be with the same group of people all the time."

Her next film was 2004's "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement."

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Shonda Rhimes in 2017. Marla Aufmuth/Getty Images for Pennsylvania Conference for Women

Although "Princess Diaries 2" wasn't exactly well-received by critics — it has a 26% on Rotten Tomatoes — Rhimes clearly bonded with Queen Clarisse herself, Julie Andrews. The two are working together again on Rhimes' newest Netflix show, "Bridgerton." Andrews is narrating the show as a sort of posh British Gossip Girl.

She has three daughters.

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Shonda Rhimes and her daughter Harper in 2017. Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Rhimes has adopted three daughters: Harper, 18, Emerson, 8, and Beckett, 7.

She's written the ending for "Grey's Anatomy" at least six times.

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Ellen Pompeo and Shonda Rhimes in 2018. Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for GLSEN

Back in 2018, Rhimes said, "I have written the end of the show at least six times. But it just won't end."

She continued, "I'm incredibly proud of the show and I still every day pinch myself that we even got on the air, [that] people watch and people care as much as they do ... Everything about this show has been a miracle to me. I love it."

But even though she's still most associated with "Grey's," she hasn't written an episode since 2015.

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Viola Davis, Kerry Washington, Shonda Rhimes and Ellen Pompeo in 2015. Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Rhimes stepped back from "Grey's" to develop multiple other TV shows, including "Scandal," "How to Get Away With Murder," "Scandal," and her shows at Netflix. Her last writing credit (thus far) is the 2015 episode "How to Save a Life," — as any "Grey's" fan could tell you, that's Patrick Dempsey's last episode of the show.

She committed to saying "yes" to everything that scared her for an entire year, and she wrote a book about the experience.

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Shonda Rhimes in 2017. Marla Aufmuth/Getty Images for Pennsylvania Conference for Women

She wrote "Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person," a self-help book/memoir, in 2015.

She decided to write the book after her sister made an offhand comment about how she "never said 'yes' to anything" —  so Rhimes decided to start.

During her so-called "Year of Yes," she lost over 100 pounds.

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Shonda Rhimes in 2015. Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Getty Images

In the book, Rhimes explained that a lot of her fears and anxieties about saying yes to things stemmed from insecurity about her weight, and so she lost 120 pounds.

"I did not do it because I thought I would become beautiful like in the movies," Rhimes explained in her newsletter. "I did it because I could not walk up a short flight up stairs without stopping to take a break and wiping sweat from my brow. I did it because my body was physically rebelling against the brain that had been ignoring it for so long."

Rhimes is worth an estimated $135 million.

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Shonda Rhimes in 2016. Jim Spellman/WireImage/Getty Images

Rhimes signed an estimated $150 million deal with Netflix and ditched her old deal with ABC back in 2017. Her wealth mainly comes from her production company, Shondaland, which produces all of her ABC content, and will produce all of her upcoming Netflix content.

Besides "Bridgerton," Rhimes' next series is "Inventing Anna," which is based on scammer Anna Delvey.

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Rhimes. Rich Fury/Getty Images for THR

The series, based on Jessica Pressler's New York Magazine article "How Anna Delvey Tricked New York's Party People," will star Julia Garner as Delvey, and will also co-star Anna Chlumsky, Shondaland alum Katie Lowes, Laverne Cox, Arian Moayed, Anders Holm, and more.

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