"What I did was wrong. Not okay. F---ed up. All the words," says Elisabeth Finch, who also lied about her brother committing suicide.
A former writer and consulting producer for "Grey's Anatomy" has admitted that she lied about battling a rare form of cancer that was even incorporated into the show.
Elisabeth Finch came clean in a new interview with The Ankler, the outlet that first broke the story back in March that she was about to be investigated for claims she "fabricated medical details from her personal life."
At the time, Finch had been put on leave from the show, but resigned before ABC parent company Disney had even begun their internal investigation into her claims.
Finch had written an article for Elle in 2014 detailing her diagnosis with chondrosarcoma, a rare bone cancer. She also apparently lost a kidney, part of her leg and was forced to abort a fetus; all of these attributed to her supposed cancer.
She was later hired by Shonda Rhimes to join the "Grey's" writers' room and had elements of her supposed story incorporated into the show. Finch had previously written for "Vampire Diaries" and "True Blood."
"I told a lie when I was 34 years old and it was the biggest mistake of my life. It just got bigger and bigger and bigger and got buried deeper and deeper inside me," Finch told The Ankler on Wednesday.
"I've never had any form of cancer," she said plainly. "What I did was wrong. Not okay. F---ed up. All the words."
It was more than just the lie, though. A colleague described her as a co-worker "who lost her hair, whose skin was yellow and green, who had a visible chemo port bandage, who regularly took breaks to vomit, who only ate saltines for long periods of time and who wrote and talked about her experiences all the time."
The Ankler reports that Finch taped a fake catheter to her arm and shaved her head to mimic the effects of chemotherapy.
Finch didn't stop there, either, per The Ankler. She reportedly told colleagues in 2019 that her brother had died of suicide. The outlet reports that he is still alive and working as a doctor in Florida.
As to why she continued to create fabrications, Finch said, "The best way I can explain it is when you experience a level of trauma a lot of people adopt a maladaptive coping mechanism. Some people drink to hide or forget things. Drug addicts try to alter their reality. Some people cut. I lied."
"That was my coping and my way to feel safe and seen and heard," she explained. She told the outlet that her trauma came from abuse suffered when she was younger by her brother, and her parents not listening.
She began lying after going through knee replacement surgery. When the well-wishes and love and support from friends faded, she said she concocted her cancer story.
After resigning from the show, Finch checked herself into an in-patient treatment facility for a five-week stay. Her hope is that by taking accountability, she can one day mend those relationships broken by her lies.
"I could only hope that the work that I've done will allow me back into those relationships where I can say, 'OK, I did this, I hurt a lot of people and I'm also going to work my f---ing ass off because this is where I want to be and I know what it's like to lose everything,'" she said.
Finch told the interviewer that she'd like to return to writing for television, with an eye on "The Handmaid's Tale," in particular. "I love what they're doing in the world of redemption and what redemption looks like. And what accountability looks like," she said.