Ellen Kathleen Pompeo was born in Everett, Massachusetts, on November 10, 1969, the daughter of Joseph Pompeo and Kathleen Pompeo. Her father was of Italian, English, and Irish descent, while her mother was of Irish ancestry. She was raised as a Catholic. Her mother died of a painkiller overdose when Ellen was five, and her father remarried soon after; he died on September 1, 2012. [better source In 2006, Pompeo said, "I think having my mother die at such a very young age – when she was 33 – I appreciate life so much. " She has five older siblings: three sisters (Maureen, Kathleen and Suzanne) and two brothers (Joey and Dean). She was nicknamed "the pencil", and "stracciatella" (gelato flavor). Pompeo worked as a barmaid in Miami when she started dating fashion photographer Andrew Rosenthal. [better source Together, they moved to New York City in 1995 where she was approached by a casting director to appear in various ads for Citibank and L'Oreal.