A “Grey’s Anatomy” Writer Who Lied About Having Cancer For Years Also Implied That Anna Paquin Had Given Her A Kidney
New pathological liar just dropped! I’m already looking forward to the Hulu mini-series about Elisabeth Finch, the Grey’s Anatomy and former True Blood writer who recently took a personal leave of absence because her WebMD of lies has finally caught up to her. Vanity Fair just published a lengthy, 2-part expose detailing Elisabeth’s battle with a rare form of bone cancer, childhood and ongoing abuse at the hands of her brother, the death of said brother by suicide, an abortion necessitated by chemotherapy treatments, a friend that was killed in the Tree of Life synagogue massacre whose viscera the FBI allowed her to clean from the floor and a kidney transplant, all of which she apparently made up. But a lot of that shit really did happen to Elizabeth’s estranged wife, a registered nurse named Jennifer Beyer, who she met in a mental health treatment center while posing as “Jo,” the same name of a character on Grey’s for whom she wrote an arc where Jo, whose own abuser died, has to go to a mental health treatment center. And don’t suggest Anna Paquin to star in Miss Diagnosis: The Elisabeth Finch Story. Anna’s too close. Elisabeth tried to say that Anna had been her kidney donor!
In 2014, Elisabeth, who had been on The Vampire Diaries at the time, wrote an article that was published in Elle magazine about being diagnosed with chondrosarcoma, “a rare and usually fatal form of bone cancer.” In it, she detailed how diligently she worked through the pain of recovery “under a fog of Demerol, punched up dialogue about vampire-werewolf hybrids with a shunt in my spine,” and had lost 17 pounds and all her hair. After reading her essay, a development executive at Shondaland suggested her as a potential hire and, after meeting with Shonda Rhimes, was given the job. Elizabeth walked through the doors of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital with a raging case of Munchausen syndrome and instead of sending her for a psych eval, they sent her directly to the writer’s room. And all her colleagues bought it, PICC line and sinker.
Her bosses gave her all the time off she needed to participate in her maintenance chemo and clinical trials at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Friends there drove her to and from appointments. When cancer story lines came up on the show, Finch led the way—she was the expert. And she even chronicled her experience with chondrosarcoma on the side—in Elle and The Hollywood Reporter, and on Shondaland.com, to promote her episodes. She wasn’t one to draw attention to herself, no. Cancer, alas, had become her brand.
She excelled in the area of personal confession, laying her pain bare, often with an appealing, familiar humor. Other times, she’d laugh at something tragic—laughed so hard until she cried. People figured it was a coping mechanism. She carried her heart—and her cancer—on her sleeve. She was visibly sick and getting sicker. In addition to the bald head and scarves, she wore a bandage over a presumed port on her upper chest area; you could see it behind her baggy tank top and cardigan. Her skin had a yellow-greenish hue, which she covered with badly blended cover-up. She could sometimes be heard retching in the bathroom, at which point the producers would insist, “Please. Go home.” “No, no,” came the valiant reply. “I really want to be here. Just let me do an hour more.”
On Grey’s, Elisabeth was given preferential treatment in the writer’s room where “she was not to be interrupted, and took whatever time she needed drawing out her stories. Anyone else could lose their job for being such a room hog,” and that “her frequent bouts of illness and mental stress coincided with deadlines for her episodes.” And more bad stuff just kept happening to her! For one, she needed a kidney transplant “due to something cancer-related.”
The disease created other health complications. In 2017, she needed a kidney transplant. She posted on Facebook, “Two hospital hangouts. Nearly two weeks of hell. But FINNNALLLLY…One happy, healthy kidney. Thanks for all the [heart emoji].” According to a staffer, Finch said that Anna Paquin was to thank. (Paquin and Finch had become friends, for real, on True Blood.) Paquin did not comment to Vanity Fair.
Then, in February of this year, just as Rhimes was dropping the splashy first release she created under her Netflix deal, Inventing Anna, about con artist Anna Delvey, she received an email on her private account. It was from an unlikely sender—Jennifer Beyer, a struggling mother of five from Kansas and a registered nurse who had married Finch in 2020 though they were by now estranged. And its message was not just unlikely, but unthinkable: Finch, Beyer wrote, had been telling stories and it was time to stop believing her.
Elisabeth would eventually take Jennifer to Anna’s house in Ojai, California, and pretend she was part owner. Part 2 of this story begins in Arizona at a mental health treatment center, where Elisabeth had fled in order to deal with PTSD brought on by writing for the character Jo, a victim of domestic violence. That’s where she and Jennifer met. Vulture reports:
This entry focuses on Jennifer Beyer, Finch’s ex from whom she mined and stole stories of trauma, and it elucidates a cliffhanger from episode one: What was going on with Anna Paquin and the kidney? It seems when Finch brought Beyer to her home in Ojai, California, for the first time, she disclosed that it was actually Paquin’s home but lied “that she owned part of it.” The article then clarifies, “Finch does not own part of Paquin’s house, a source confirms, nor does Paquin have anything to do with Finch’s kidneys.” When Beyer returned to Kansas, Finch sent her a “purple stuffed kidney.” The delusionista was thorough.
Anna’s all, “Sorry to this offal.”