Patrick Dempsey Just Revealed a Shocking New Platinum Blonde Look

Those iconic locks are looking totally different today.

Until the actor (and his coif) left the show in 2015, Patrick Dempsey's hair could have been considered a supporting character on Grey's Anatomy. His thick waves were a big part of what made Derek Shepherd, a.k.a. McDreamy, so, well… dreamy. Whether we're talking about earlier seasons (or earlier in his career) when it was totally dark or later, as it evolved into more of a salt-and-pepper look, Dempsey's (and Derek's) hair was one of his signatures. Which is why so many fans were shocked when the actor turned up at the D23 Expo on Sept. 9 rocking a platinum blonde dye job. Read on to see the TV star's surprising new look and to find out why he made such a drastic change.

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Dempsey's hair is iconic enough to have inspired its own product.

Patrick Dempsey in 2008
Everett Collection/Getty Images

Anyone looking to recreate Dempsey's grooming routine—either on themselves or a partner—got some good news in 2019. The actor's wife, makeup artist and hair stylist Jillian Dempsey, launched a product inspired by caring for her husband's locks. Called "Roadie," it's a pomade stick and is available on her website.

"I met Patrick when I owned a beauty salon in West Hollywood back in the day," the stylist said in a press release, as reported by American Salon. "Yes, his hair was naturally wavy and a little out of control, but with the right cut, we found our way through it. To be honest, I had to use three different products to actually tame his hair and get it looking good. But now he just uses the Roadie—that's it. It's like the whole history of his hair in one twist-up stick."

He debuted a bright new look at D23.

Dempsey was on hand at D23 today along with former co-star Ellen Pompeo and other stars to be honored as a Disney Legend. (Disney owns ABC, Grey's Anatomy's network, and Dempsey also stars in the studio's movie Enchanted and the upcoming sequel.) And he made an instant impression on the carpet in a beige suit and almost white-blonde hair.

"I love it, it's great," the actor told Variety of the look. "It's fun to do something different, and unfortunately or fortunately, I'm known for my hair. So this has jacked up a lot of people, they don't really know how to embrace it. Either they love it or they hate it."

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He dyed his hair for a role.

"Blondes have more fun, I have to tell you, it's true," Dempsey also said in his Variety interview. Asked to elaborate, he said, "Well, I'm in Italy driving race cars, so I can't complain."

So no, unfortunately, the star didn't make a snap decision to go blonde for good. He dyed his hair for a role in the biopic Ferrari, in which he plays Italian driver Piero Taruffi. The film stars Adam Driver as sports car legend Enzo Ferrari, and the cast also includes Penélope Cruz and Shailene Woodley.

The Michael Mann movie is expected to arrive in theaters in late 2023. Dempsey gave a peek into the production schedule by telling Variety that he has two more months with his Taruffi makeover.

In one way, at least, the actor didn't have to stretch much to play the role. Dempsey is an avid race car driver himself and has participated in several pro-am races.

"It's a dream job," he told Deadline of Ferrari.

Fans are divided on the look—but thrilled about the reunion.

Fans on Twitter can't seem to decide how they feel about Dempsey as a platinum blonde. One user wrote that they "need a minute to process" the change, while another said, "The blonde makes his eyes pop." His new coif was also compared to that of several fictional characters, from the members of House Targaryen on House of the Dragon to Papa on Stranger Things.

One thing Dempsey fans can agree on is that they're over the moon to see him and Pompeo together again. The reunion comes not long after he returned to Grey's to make surprise cameos as Derek in the afterlife, and Pompeo told Extra that she's "100 percent open" to the pair collaborating in the future.

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