grey’s anatomy has been on the air since 2005, meaning the show has aired over 400 episodes (and counting).
With such a long run, characters have come and gone on the show – some with perfect exits, and others not so well – so here’s a look back at some of the biggest actors who departed. grey’s anatomy Here’s what happened over the past 19 seasons and behind the scenes:
First, after Katherine Heigl left the show in the middle of Season 6, Izzie decided to take a new job at Seattle Grace. At the time, Catherine’s departure came after several behind-the-scenes moments where she criticized grey’s anatomy, Notably, she dropped out of the 2008 Emmys race, which was reportedly seen as “a swipe at the producers for reducing her presence on the series”.
Sandra Oh exits the series at the end of season 10, with Kristina deciding to move to Zurich and work at the top cardiothoracic hospital, which was founded by Burke. When she announced her exit, Sandra said, “Creatively, I really feel like I’ve given it my all, and I feel ready to let her go.”
Patrick Dempsey left the show in Season 11, after Derek died of head injuries following a car accident. At the time, Patrick said that his character’s exit “unfolded in a very organic way,” although it was reported in 2021 that he was “terrorizing the set,” which led to his exit. There was an apparent fight between him, Ellen Pompeo, and Shonda Rhimes, and “the cast had all kinds of PTSD with them.”
Ellen Pompeo recently left the show as a series regular when Meredith and her family moved to Boston. After more than 400 episodes, Ellen wanted to explore other projects and will now star in a new limited series, playing a different character for the first time since her debut. of gray Started in 2005.
At the end of season 5, TR Knight left the series after George died after he saved someone from getting hit by a bus. TR’s exit was a shock to fans and came after a lot of offscreen drama, namely with Isaiah Washington, who hurled anti-gay slurs at TR before he came out publicly. Eventually, TR left the show after realizing George’s story.
Isaiah was fired from Washington grey’s anatomy In 2007 – in the season 3 finale – Burke left Christina at the altar – after TR Knight was subjected to anti-gay slurs on set. Reportedly, this sparked a physical altercation between him and Patrick Dempsey, who were at odds with each other.
chyler leigh passed out grey’s anatomy After season 8, with the shocking death of Lexie Grey, following the infamous plane crash episode. At that point, Chyler said she decided to step away and work with Shonda Rhimes to give “a proper closure to Lexie’s story”. She wanted to spend more time with her family, her three children.
eric dane gone grey’s anatomy After Mark dies from injuries sustained in the plane crash at the beginning of Season 9. At the time, Eric wanted to explore other acting opportunities, and killing off Mark made sense to the writers and Shonda Rhimes, who explained that Mark would never get over Lexie’s death.
justin chambers gone grey’s anatomy During Season 16, Alex decides to leave Gray Sloan to be with Izzie. At the time, Justin said he quit because he wanted to “diversify”. [his] acting roles and career choices” and that it was a difficult decision.
Giacomo Gianniotti moved grey’s anatomy Andrew was stabbed to death during Season 17 when chasing a human trafficker. Giacomo was told about this storyline by showrunner Krista Vernoff, who had the idea to eliminate her character in this manner.
Sara Ramirez passed out grey’s anatomy In Season 12, Callie leaves Seattle to live and work in New York City with Penny. Reflecting on her decision to leave the show, Sara recently said, “I had reached a physical, emotional, mental capacity to play the character – and lost myself with it.”
Jesse Williams left the show in Season 17 when Jackson decided to move to Boston to lead the Katherine Fox Foundation. Jesse decided to leave after realizing that Jackson’s storyline was reaching an “organic” change, and felt it was the best move. While he left as a series regular in 2021, he has appeared in a few episodes since then.
Jessica Capshaw left the show after the Season 14 finale when Arizona decided to move to NYC with Sofia so they could be closer to Callie. Jessica’s departure came as a shock to fans and was said to be due to the “creative direction of the show”. However, at the time, people wondered whether it was related to Ellen Pompeo’s new salary, which Ellen denied.
Sarah Drew exited the show after the season 14 finale after marrying Matthew in April and leaving her job at Gray Sloan to work in a charity clinic. Sarah and Jessica Capshaw’s exits were announced at the same time. Again, people speculated whether this was related to Ellen Pompeo’s new $20 million per year salary, but it was said to be due to new stories.
Gaius Charles is gone grey’s anatomy After Season 10, Shane decides to move to Zurich to work with Kristina. His exit was a bit of a surprise, considering he was upped to a series regular that same season after joining in Season 9.
Jerrica Hinton left the show after the Season 13 finale, which featured Stephanie escaping a fire at Gray Sloan and deciding she no longer wanted to be a doctor. Prior to her official exit, Jerrica was already exploring other acting options, leading fans to speculate that she was ready to leave.
And finally, Kim Raver basically passed out grey’s anatomy After Season 8, Teddy decides to take a new job. However, she returned in season 14. According to Shonda Rhimes, Kim’s original exit occurred when she chose not to renew her series option because she was “ready to give Teddy Altman a much-needed vacation”.