Amelia is the youngest child of the Shepherd family, born after her brother Derek and sisters Nancy, Liz and Kathleen. At age five, she and brother Derek witnessed the murder of their father. This loss placed a great strain on their family.
As they grew up, Amelia became the family's black sheep and developed a serious drug addiction. While under the influence, she notably crashed Derek's car, stole her mother's prescription pad to allow her access to medication and nearly died but was saved by Derek. In the wake of her near death experience, Amelia strived to sort her life out and maintained sobriety for sometime.
She became, like her brother, a practising neurosurgeon completing her residency at Johns Hopkins, and gained a coveted spot as a fellow to world-renowned surgeon Dr. Ginsberg
Private Practice, Season 3Edit
Amelia arrived in L.A with Dr. Ginsberg but she was quickly fired as her fellow, after offering a procedure to a patient that Ginsberg disagreed with. Regardless, she proved herself to be a talented neurosurgeon and she decided to stay in L.A with Addison.
Amelia pushed Sam and Addison to accept their feelings for each other, while she faced her own demons when she was reminded of her drug addiction. After the car crash that threatened the lives of Maya and Dell, Amelia's skills were put to the test as she operated on Dell but was unable to save him, leaving the practice devastated.
She left for Seattle, seeking comfort.
Private Practice, Season 4Edit
In the aftermath of the her brother's shooting, Amelia refused to return to Seattle to visit Derek but eventually went at Addison's request. In Seattle, she and Derek repaired their estranged relationship and Amelia slept with Mark Sloan. She returned to L.A and officially joined the practice, citing that she had nowhere else to go. She developed a friendship with Cooper, with flirtatious undertones. When Charlotte was raped, Cooper turned hostile towards Amelia as he was drinking and flirting with her when Charlotte's rape happened. As fellow former narcotic addicts, Amelia and Charlotte formed a bond in the wake of her rape when Charlotte turned to Amelia to help her stay away from drugs. After things turned tough with Charlotte, Cooper tried to kiss Amelia but she stopped him and told him to go home to Charlotte, agreeing not to speak of it again.
Amelia eventually became a vital part of the practice and her neurosurgery skills helped save various patients. One patient she failed to help though was her good friend Michelle who Amelia persuaded to take the test to see if she had Huntington's Disease. After learning of her friend's positive status, Amelia lied to her, fearing she would take her own life if she knew the truth. Michelle eventually learned the truth and she and Amelia reconciled their friendship, with Amelia promising to euthanize Michelle when her symptoms developed.
In spite of Charlotte becoming aware of Cooper's previous indiscretion and initally turning hostile towards Amelia, their friendship survived and floruished to the extent where Charlotte asked Amelia to be her maid of honor. Amelia also helped support Addison through her break up with Sam.
At the wedding, Amelia inadvertantly took a sip of champagne and began battling her addictions once again, something fueled by her residual guilt of Dell's death and Betsey's situation. Unable to maintain her sobriety, Amelia began drinking again. Amelia began to avoid Charlotte, as she tried to push her to attend a support meeting; when Charlotte realized that she was drinking again, she withdrew her surgical privilages at St. Ambrose. This pushed Amelia to fall completely off the wagon and began her descent into darkness.
Private Practice, Season 5Edit
Amelia remained adamant that her continued drinking wouldn't cause a relapse of her drug addiction. However, when Pete was rushed to the hospital after suffering a heart attack, Charlotte was forced to go against her better judgement and allow Amelia to operate to save his life. While Amelia succeeded in saving his life and expected to be celebrated, Charlotte was quick to remind her that her privileges were still suspended. After Charlotte made her submit to breathalyzer tests in order to retain her surgical privileges, Amelia started to battle her drinking but her attempts were futile. However, it would be the return of her friend Michelle that would send her over the edge. Her friend's request to euthanize her forced Amelia to struggle but she eventually persuaded her friend to live. However, after finding out that Michelle had then killed herself to avoid dealing with her Huntington's, Amelia took the pills she used to commit suicide and started abusing drugs once again.
Amelia started dating a fellow drug-user, Ryan Kerrigan. The two quickly fall in love amongst high moments. Amelia considers it her first true love. She is thrilled to accept his proposal. She gives him the watch of her deceased father. The members of the practice held an intervention to try to help Amelia. Ryan interrupts the intervention and witnesses an argument between Amelia and Addison, where he realizes the significance of the watch and how much her friends really care for her. Later that day, back in a hotel room, Ryan is inspired by the intervention and the two talk about having children in the future: two boys and two girls. Ryan insists they must be clean first and offers to go to rehab with Amelia. They decide to flush the remaining drugs in their possession down the toilet and start their rehab right there. Amelia suggests they have one more high and although Ryan first protests, he agrees and the pair get high. Amelia wakes and embraces "sleeping" Ryan, only to realize he is dead from an accidental overdose. She stays holding his body until the police take him away. Just before they place him in a body bag, she removes her father's watch. It is his tragic death that encourages her to get clean. She attends rehab for a month and does indeed become clean again.
Out of rehab, Amelia realizes she is pregnant with Ryan's baby. She is in her second trimester when she tells Addison about her pregnancy; she's afraid Addison will be upset because of her own infertility, but Addison supports her and looks forward to being an aunt. At first, Amelia does not want to have an ultrasound, but later lets Addison perform one. The ultrasound shows Amelia is carrying a boy, but also reveals tragic news--the baby is anencephalic, a rare birth defect (not caused by drug use) in which babies are born without the majority of their brain. Amelia decides to carry the baby to term and donate his organs to save many other babies across the country. There are legal complications as her baby has a brain stem and cannot be declared brain dead. Although the baby would die irregardless and soon, his organs would be not able to be donated if their procurement was not done within moments of birth. The doctors of the practice help Amelia to get what she wanted. She gives birth with no drugs and decides to hold her son after birth. In a touching moment, she pulls the blanket back from his obviously defected head, and tearfully declares, "he is the most beautiful baby in the world." Crying, she tells her son he will not be alone as his father is waiting for him. Addison and Sam perform the surgery to remove organs and send them to various hospitals. As a child, Amelia was intrigued by mythical unicorns who flew magic over lands and thus calls her child a "unicorn baby".
Private Practice, Season 6Edit
Amelia, now one year sober, tries to put her life back on track after the emotional devastation of the year before, continuing to lean on Sheldon. Addison helps reaffirm Amelia's recovery by asking her to care for Henry if something should happen to her. Meanwhile, Amelia develops a flirtatious rapport with E.R doctor James Peterson, but she initially turns him down by saying that she isn't the girl he thinks she is after everything she's been through. However, despite turning him down many times, she eventually starts to let him in and goes on a date with him.
Grey's Anatomy, Season 10Edit
Over a year later, James proposes to Amelia and, although she says yes, Amelia freaks out and decides to visit Seattle to visit Derek and his newborn son in order to see if she's cut out for family life. While in Seattle, she joins Derek during surgery at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital and, while she struggles to step out of Derek's shadow, she begins to feel the rush of being a surgeon in a big city hospital prompting Derek to suggest she should take over his rotation. Amelia ultimately decides she can't continue her engagement to James, realizing that she needed James to help her through her trauma but she's through it and needs to start thinking of herself again, and decides to peruse a relocation to Seattle, just as Derek announces his plans to leave for D.C. Amelia, ready to start her life in Seattle and ready for Derek's shadow to disappear, urges Meredith and Derek to begin their new chapter to D.C.
Grey's Anatomy, Season 11Edit
Amelia happens upon the discovery that the new cardio chief, Maggie Pierce is the daughter of Richard and Ellis Grey when Richard discloses it during an AA meeting. Amelia pushes Richard to tell Maggie the truth, and even tries to befriend Maggie herself, but soon faces her own sibling drama when Derek turns down the job in D.C and begins to undermine Amelia's authority of the chief of neurosurgery. However, the two ultimately overcome their difficulties in order to help push Maggie and Meredith towards neutral ground.
Amelia is often seen as the black sheep of her family, the Shepherds. The youngest and most rebellious child of Carolyn Shepherd, Amelia's reckless behaviour and drug addiction put a strain on her relationship with her mother and her elder brother Derek in the wake of her father's murder. Derek and Amelia would eventually repair their estranged relationship after he was also shot, with Derek admitting he feels like he has to protect Amelia.
Amelia like all of her brothers and sisters, became a doctor and followed her brother Derek's footsteps into the field of neurosurgery. She gained a place as a fellow of the famed neurosurgeon Dr. Ginsberg but was fired from her team after offering a controvertial procedure to the family of comatose Kayla Lindy that Ginsberg disagreed with. Amelia has since joined Oceanside Wellness and proved herself to be a competent neurosurgeon, even if she is often rash and overconfident about her abilties.
- Amelia insists that only Derek can call her Amy although Addison, Sam, Mark and Meredith have all also used the nickname at some point.
- In addition to appeared in Private Practice, Amelia has also appeared in the Grey's Anatomy episodes "Superfreak", "Have You Seen Me Lately?", "Change Of Heart", "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together", "Everything I Try To Do, Nothing Seems To Turn Out Right" and "Fear (Of The Unknown)" before joining the parent series' main cast for the eleventh season.