Elisabeth Finch, a former screenwriter and producer for the hit television drama “Grey’s Anatomy,” admitted after months of investigation that she had fabricated claims that she had cancer and that her brother had committed suicide.
Finch came clean in an interview with The Ankler months after several exposés prompted an investigation into her claims — which included a cancer diagnosis, an abortion, a kidney loss, and the death of her brother by suicide — and a leave of absence. She later resigned from the show altogether.
“When you get wrapped up in a lie you forget who you told — what you said to this person and whether this person knows that thing — and that’s the world where you can get caught,” Finch told The Ankler before spilling everything. “I don’t have to worry about that now.”
Throughout the interview, she admitted that it had all been fabricated: the cancer, the abortion, and even a claim that she had helped to clean the remains of a friend from the Tree of Life Synagogue after the shooting. Her brother, whom she claimed had taken his own life, was still alive and working as a doctor in Florida.
The whole saga began with a real knee injury, Finch said, adding that instead of medication, she became “addicted” to the special attention and care that she received from the people around her while she was recovering. As she recovered, that attention began to slip away — and she was desperate for a way to get it back.
“I had no support and went back to my old maladaptive coping mechanism. I lied and made something up because I needed support and attention and that’s the way I went after it,” she said.
The lies ultimately unraveled when Finch met and married Jennifer Beyer, a registered nurse who uncovered her wife’s deception and demanded that she come clean to her friends and colleagues. Finch said that she agreed to tell some close friends and family the truth, but was not prepared to reveal the truth at work — and her refusal prompted Beyer to go around her, telling Disney and Shondaland what she had discovered.
That was when Ankler reporter Peter Kiefer — the same reporter who conducted the interview published Wednesday — called Finch to warn her that he was about to publish a report exposing her lies.
“From that point on, I was cut off pretty quickly from everything. I slowly started to see people blocking me on Instagram and other social media,” Finch said. “It was so universal that I don’t know if an email went out or everyone just got together and decided ‘no thank you.’”
Finch, who at one time shaved her head to fake the side effects of chemotherapy, made it clear that she understood her current situation was self-inflicted — but it still hurt. “I really miss it. I miss my fellow writers. It’s like a family and … one of the things that makes it so hard is that they did rally around a false narrative that I gave.”
“What I did was wrong. Not okay. F***ed up. All the words,” she said.