The Real Reason Why These Actors Left Grey’s Anatomy

The Real Reason Why These Actors Left Grey’s Anatomy


Grey’s Anatomy, one of longest-running scripted
primetime TV shows, has gained a reputation for killing or writing off main characters
during major episodes. But the stories behind some actors’ departures
haven’t always been so clear. Here are some of the reasons why these stars
left Grey’s Anatomy, spoilers ahead! For the first few seasons of Grey’s Anatomy,
actor Isaiah Washington played Dr. Preston Burke, a central figure of the show. But in 2006, rumors began to circulate that
Washington had caused some trouble behind the scenes. During an argument with co-star Patrick Dempsey,
Washington reportedly used a homophobic slur. Not long afterwards, his co-star T.R. Knight came out as gay to People magazine,
causing Washington to face even more backlash. Washington first denied using the slur, but
according to Today, he eventually released a statement apologizing for his actions, saying, “I apologize to T.R., my colleagues, the fans
of the show, and especially the lesbian and gay community for using a word that is unacceptable
in any context or circumstance.” His apology didn’t keep him on the show, though. In June 2007, ABC confirmed that Washington
would not return for the next season. Following his dismissal, Washington said in
a statement, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take
it anymore.” Kate Walsh was Grey’s Anatomy’s second major
character to leave, but the circumstances of her exit were much less controversial. “And you must be the woman who’s been screwing
my husband.” In 2007, ABC announced that they would be
producing a Grey’s spin-off series called Private Practice, which would star Walsh in
a leading role, as reported by the New York Times. Although she was going to keep her Addison
Montgomery character from Grey’s, Walsh would have to leave the series to star in the new
show. Walsh later told TV Guide that, when Grey’s
Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes approached her about the new series, “It totally felt like the right thing.” In an interview with Parade in 2016, she explained
that she knew her time on Grey’s was up, admitting, “I felt like my tenure sort of was done at
the hospital in terms of, I’d delivered lots of babies, I sort of, you know, tried to save
my marriage, it failed. I’d slept with numerous people at the hospital. I was like, ‘What else can I do?’ other than start like making lunch for everybody.” T.R. Knight, who played the beloved character George
O’Malley, left the show in 2009. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly,
Knight explained that he made the decision to leave after watching his character pretty
much disappear from the show, snagging a lot less screen time. Due to what he called a, quote, “breakdown
of communication” over time between himself and Shonda Rhimes, he didn’t speak up. Instead, he just asked to leave. He explained, “My five-year experience proved to me that
I could not trust any answer that was given [about George]. And with respect, I’m going to leave it at
that.” It wasn’t the first time Rhimes and Knight
seemed to disagree. Regarding Isaiah Washington’s 2006 scandal,
Knight hinted that Rhimes may not have wanted him to publicly come out at the time, saying, “I think she was concerned about having my
statement come out so close to the [initial] event.” Katherine Heigl’s departure from the show
was another messy situation. In 2007, she won an Emmy award for her role
as Izzie Stevens, but, after the next season of the show, she refused to submit her name
for Emmy consideration, saying that she didn’t think she was, quote, “given the material
this season to warrant an Emmy nomination,” as reported by the New York Times. She withdrew her name, in her words, “in an
effort to maintain the integrity of the academy organization.” As could be expected, her comments reportedly
angered network executives. In March 2010, ABC confirmed that Heigl would
be leaving Grey’s Anatomy. Heigl gave a statement to Entertainment Weekly,
saying, “I am done. We just finalized our agreement. Everyone had been working really hard to find
an amicable and gracious way of letting go and moving on. It’s sad, but it’s what I wanted.” Shonda Rhimes later spoke about Heigl’s behavior
to Oprah Winfrey, stating, “On some level, it stung and on some level
I was not surprised.” “You weren’t?” “No. When people show you who they are, believe
them.” In a bit of an expected move, Sandra Oh left
Grey’s Anatomy after playing Dr. Cristina Yang from the very beginning. In August 2013, The Hollywood Reporter revealed
that Oh would be leaving the show at the end of season 10, a decision she made on her own. She explained, “Creatively, I really feel like I gave it
my all, and I feel ready to let her go.” She also said that she had started thinking
about leaving a year earlier, and it was something she went to therapy for because she needed
to, in her words, “emotionally let go” on her own. Shonda Rhimes seemed just as devastated about
the decision, saying, “One of the best days of my life as a writer
happened the day Sandra Oh walked in my door to audition and forever changed the course
of Grey’s Anatomy with her brilliant, nuanced portrayal of Cristina Yang.” Perhaps the most shocking character departure
in the show’s history was Patrick Dempsey’s Dr. Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd, who was killed
off after ten years on the show. Fans were devastated at how he left the series,
leading Shonda Rhimes to eventually speak out about it at the 2015 Summer TCA press
tour. As reported by E! News, she said that she
stood by her decision to kill Shepherd, adding, “The decision to have the character die the
way that he did was not a difficult one in the sense of, ‘What were the options?'” In an interview with The I Paper, Dempsey
explained that he felt it was time to move on from Grey’s Anatomy, saying, “Look, 10 years is a long time to be on any
show. It’s very hard to keep the storylines intriguing,
especially on a network show with 25 episodes a year. So for me, it was time to go.” “Grey’s Anatomy was a remarkable ride, and
without that success I probably wouldn’t be here today talking to you.” At the end of season eight, fans were shocked
when Chyler Leigh’s character, Lexie Grey, was killed off the show. But in a statement given to E! News, Leigh
revealed that she was the one who decided to leave, although she didn’t exactly explain
why. She only said, “I am very lucky to have worked with this
amazing cast and crew for five seasons. My experience on Grey’s Anatomy is something
that I will treasure for the rest of my life.” Shonda Rhimes tweeted about Leigh leaving,
saying in part, “This was not an easy decision. But it was a decision that Chyler and I came
to together. We had a lot of thoughtful discussion about
it, and ultimately we both decided this was the right time for her character’s journey
to end.” Another cast member who made the decision
to leave the show was Kim Raver, who played Teddy Altman. Raver left the show during the season eight
finale, except her character was not killed off, she was fired from the hospital so that
she would accept a position at a military hospital. Although Raver didn’t speak about leaving
the show, Shonda Rhimes tweeted an explanation after the shocking episode aired, saying that
Raver’s series option was up, and she was giving her character, quote, “a much-needed
vacation.” She added, “I like to imagine that Teddy is still out
there in the Grey’s Anatomy universe, running Army Medical Command and building a new life.” As it turns out, that may have been exactly
what she was doing while she was gone. Raver returned to the series as Teddy during
the season 14 finale, and Deadline later announced that Raver was upped to a series regular for
season 15. Eric Dane, who played Dr. Mark Sloan, said
he was the one who made the decision to leave the series. He told TVLine that, while he was “extremely
grateful” to the cast and crew of Grey’s, he was ready to pursue other opportunities. Shonda Rhimes released her own statement,
saying that Dane had been one of the most beloved characters, but that they both felt
it was, quote, “the right time for his storyline to end.” Not too long afterwards, Dane landed a starring
role on TNT’s The Last Ship. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, he shared
that it was a very different role than his one in Grey’s, noting, “I loved doing Grey’s Anatomy. I would have done it until the final episode,
but this was something I couldn’t pass up.” In May 2016, Sara Ramirez, who played Dr.
Callie Torres, announced she too would be leaving Grey’s Anatomy. Ramirez’s departure was a surprise, but sources
told Variety that it was totally her decision, and there was no bad blood behind the scenes. In a statement, Ramirez explained that she
needed time off and praised Shonda Rhimes for creating a wonderful place to work. She also suggested that she may come back
to the series in the future. Ramirez’s decision was initially so shocking
that even Rhimes didn’t know the actress wanted to leave. Vulture reported that Rhimes said she found
out Ramirez wanted off the show about three days before the general public found out. She revealed, “I had a different plan going, and then Sara
came and said, ‘I really need to take a break.’ I was sort of lucky that we had shot the end
of the season with her going to New York.” In September 2017, The Hollywood Reporter
announced that Jason George, who played Dr. Ben Warren, would be joining the Grey’s Anatomy
firefighter spin-off, Station 19, as a series regular. George told Entertainment Tonight that he
got the news about the spin-off through a phone call, saying, “When Shonda Rhimes calls, you feel like you
get called into the principal’s office a little bit, and you think, maybe I better take that
call. We talked and she ran it down for me and had
me at hello.” In an interview with Entertainment Weekly
in December 2017, George said he couldn’t wait to start the show because it felt like
his character was starting over and doing something new, noting that he loves that his
character is, quote, “excited to pursue new things and go up to new challenges.” Luckily for his fans, his character has already
made appearances in crossover episodes, so he may be back to Grey’s frequently. Jessica Capshaw, who played Dr. Arizona Robbins,
and Sarah Drew, who played Dr. April Kepner, exited Grey’s Anatomy at the end of the series’
14th season. According to a Deadline report, the decision
was made by producers. When rumors surfaced that Capshaw and Drew
were being kicked off because of co-star Ellen Pompeo’s salary increase, showrunner Krista
Vernoff tweeted that it was actually a creative decision to have the characters leave the
show. In a statement on her Instagram page, Capshaw
wrote about her character’s departure, saying in part, “I am sad to see her go, but I am consoled
by the idea that she will live on and on in all of our consciences and imaginations.” Drew also released a statement on her Instagram
account. She wrote, in part, “In the wake of being let go, I’ve been overwhelmed
with gratitude, and I’ve felt profoundly loved. I am so humbled and so thankful.” Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more List videos about your favorite
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100 thoughts on “The Real Reason Why These Actors Left Grey’s Anatomy

  1. 1. I don't believe most of the reasons in the YouTube video here. All PR. They left for better deals elsewhere or were fired. Who knows?; not here. Not "creative" reasons.
    2. Don't like the show now: best characters gone (Kepner,Sloan,Yang,Lexie,too many to mention); and too much leftist political/social advocacy.
    3. I never liked annoying Meredith (luckiest girl in the world to land on this show) and Amelia. Hated Meredith's opening and closing remarks; and the music lyric overlays

  2. Losing Eric aka mark solan was the worst moment of the show for me ever and have watched the series over and over since the beginning x x

  3. Wonderful , detailed information on the cast of a great show whether they are past or present cast members.Very interesting to know something about each one and their lives.

  4. I need to say i love GA, i watch it since 4 years without break from beginning to end and repeat. But i see more and more, that the fun to watch it get lost with the season 11, and totally after 12, where all my loved characters was gone and the story have too much focus on the story of own hunt and his army. Then, as my fav chracter (after Lexie Grey) April Kepner left also, i lost the fun completely 🙁

  5. Just because he said a homophobic slur he was kicked out of the show? I bet there's at least 5 people in the cast who have said the n word.

  6. shonda is like the hitler of tv shows. if someone says or does something she doesnt like, zhey are gone and never be seen again

  7. i just started watching grey’s and ive finished 2 Seasons but don’t have vpn to watch season 3-11 on Netflix :///

  8. I did not know there was a spin-off for Addison omg I so need to get hip and watch that show I’m about to buy all the seasons from prime video lol

  9. Why didnt you put the leaves in order? I wouldve stopped at the point i recognised the losses when i was familiar. Tha hells wrong with you, missorganizing like that.

  10. Hearing about Sara Ramirez’s departure and Shonda Rhime’s reaction to it( that she had other plans for Callie) I get the feeling she had planned for Callie to come back from New York and, finally, get back with Arizona..considering Rhime’s statement that they tried bringing Ramírez back for the S14 finale and the way Arizona’s story arc concludes in overall…so, at least you didn’t completely destroy ALL of our favorite ships Shonda!

  11. They seriously need to bring back Denny Duquette. The best and sexiest patient the show has ever had. Yea I know he died….but did he? 😉

  12. It was bad enough when Isaiah Washington left, a few seasons later when Knight and Heigl left, it got even worse. But, when Oh and Dempsey left, GAME OVER. The show is garbage now! Pull the plug GA and go into the light!

  13. Well… As long as the real doctor shepherd is still in the show..❤️

    (yeah, i called amelia the real doctor shepherd, blame me if you want)

  14. i know for a fact that im not the only one who wants there to be a episode were EVERYBODY comes back well not the people who died (actually wants the to come back)and like have fun and chill out and drink for maybe just two episodes PLEASE CHRISTINA COME BACK TO ME!!!!

  15. I haven't watched Greys in a long time. The beloved characters who were so loved were fired or killed off or left the show. That means that the show is getting stale and needs to end. When actors start questioning their character's direction and want to leave that says a lot. When Lexie and Mark were killed off during that horrible crash I was devastated. When Derrick Shephard, Dr. McDreamy was killed off, that was sort of it for me. And then the new biracial sister popped up. Not long after that I quit watching because the series was flailing. Kill the series.

  16. Worst deaths: McDreamy and McSteamy. Lexie hurt too. Only other death on tv that hurt me? Chief Ripley on Station 19.

    I didn’t care about George. Sorry not sorry.

    I miss Callie and Arizona and Cristina and Addison. I really hope someone finds a way to get them back on some level.

  17. okay but.. why'd they have to kill off everyone? if the actors wanted to leave the show they should have written them off rather than killing them.. the deaths are super unrealistic and caused me to like the show less

  18. I WAS SO SAD THAT LEXIE AND MARK LEFT THEY WERE MY FAVS. AND CHRISTINA AND CALLIE LEAVING TO WERE ALSO SO SAD.

  19. I watched this show for 11 years. Loved it so much. But with the departures of Sandra Oh' and Patrick Dempsey's characters, it just lost so much that, to me, this show literally died. Have tried to watch 2-3 episodes later on and my gut feeling was right. The show was dead to me.

  20. What remains for us to wrap up Grey’s anatomy for good is Meredith to announce her leaving

    But I believe something is wrong that only Shonda can explain it

  21. Patrick Dempsey was sleeping with people on the set and causing problems so they killed him, that’s why he got a divorced the same year he was killed off

  22. Okay, no hate but I did not like George, or Izzie. Killing Derek was downright stupid, that for rid of a lot of fans.

  23. I was very upset to have all of these awesome actors vanish, but wow ten years or more to be in one show that’s a lot! Usually shows last a lot less! We were asking for too much! But I loved them!!!!!?

  24. I don’t like Preston Burke he was to much and I don’t think teddy well Kim was a good actress I think she’s a wannabe no hate to her

  25. Izzie is forever my fave character! And I miss her soooo much! She was like a sunshine of the show . Katherine is so talanted

  26. I'm addicted to this show! I hate all of the characters at one point or another. Edwards was my favorite and if she would have stayed and developed I would have stopped missing Yang so much but alas.?

  27. The show should ends. Shonda Rhymes keep milking it. Most of the main characters are dead or leaving and Meredith is getting annoying every season. Also, the same stuff repeat over and over again.

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