Updated: 01/20/2020 10:29 AM | First Published: 01/18/2020 02:16 PM

Why Did the Cast of Grey's Anatomy Leave the Show? Justin Chambers

Patrick Demsey, Sara Ramirez, Eric Dane portraying the role of Dr. Derek Shepard, Dr. Callie Torres and Dr. Mark Sloan in medical drama TV series, Grey's Anatomy

ABC's long-running medical drama, Grey's Anatomy, has seen a number of actors' exits. With the newest one being of Dr. Alex Karev, played by Justin Chambers, the show has reduced down to three original cast members, which includes Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson, and James Pickens Jr.

The show is still running and is popular as ever, but fans are wondering about the real reasons why some of their favorite doctors left Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.

Here's what the actors who quitted Grey's Anatomy are up to now.

Sandra Oh (Dr. Cristina Yang)

One of the original cast of the show, Sandra left after playing Dr. Cristina Yang for ten seasons. She stated to The Hollywood Reporter about her departure,

"Creatively, I really feel like I gave it my all, and I feel ready to let her go.." 

Sandra Oh at the Emmy Awards 2018. Sandra Oh portrayed the role of Dr. Cristina Yang on NBC's medical drama Grey's Anatomy

Now, she is leading BBC America's Killing Eve as Eve Polastri, an MI5 officer, and has earned several awards for her outstanding portrayal.

Will Sandra Oh be Back as Dr. Christina Yang in Grey's Anatomy?

Katherine Heigl (Dr. Izzie Stevens)

Katherine, who collected a huge fan base and even earned a Golden Globe playing Dr. Izzie Stevens, wasn't satisfied with her character's storylines and left the show in 2010.

"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." 

Katherine Heigl at NBC Universal Upfront in 2018. Katherine Heigl portrayed the role of Dr. Izzie Stevens in the medical drama, Grey's Anatomy

After she didn't show up at the sets in 2010, Shonda Rhimes came to an agreement with her and released her from the contract. But, she said she left to focus on her film career.

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T. R. Knight (Dr. George O'Malley)

Dr. George, an incompetent intern-turned-trauma surgeon, left fans distraught at the end of season 5 after he died in front of a bus while running to save a lady.

The openly gay actor late spoke up that creator Shonda Rhimes reduced his screen time and made him call off the contract three years prior.

Actor TR Knights portrayed the role of DR. George O'Malley in the NBC's medical drama, Grey's Anatomy. TR Knights appeared in a total of 5 seasons of the show

Since leaving the show, he has appeared in Broadway productions and TV shows like The Good Wife, When We Rise, Genius: Einstein, and Genius: Picasso. He is also starring in the upcoming miniseries, A Higher Loyalty in 2020.

Isaiah Washington (Dr. Preston Burke)

A behind-the-scene incident, in which Isaiah allegedly called co-star Knight a "faggot" during a heated argument with Patrick Dempsey at 2007 Golden Globes, led to Isaiah's firing. 

After the incident, Knight came out gay, but Isiah suffered a lot. 

After the incident at the Golden Globes, everything just fell apart. I lost everything. I couldn't afford to have an agent...I couldn't afford to have a publicist...I couldn't afford to continue...I became a better husband, a better father and a better artist.

- Justin Chambers

Isaiah Washington at  WGN America's "Underground" at The Theatre At The Ace Hotel in Los Angeles. Actor Isaiah Washington portrayed the role of Dr. Preston Burke in the medical drama, Grey's Anatomy

Later, he struggled to find a major role until starring in 2013's Blue Caprice and The 100 (2014-18). He also appeared in the 2019 movie, Cut Throat City.

Kate Walsh (Dr. Addison Montgomery)

Kate, who debuted midway through the first season as Derek Shepherd's estranged wife, Dr. Addison, left the show in season 3 to star in her spin-off, Private Practice.

Actress Kate Walsh at the 2011 Voice Awards. Kate Walsh portrayed the role of Dr. Addison Montgomery on NBC's Grey's Anatomy

'Private Practice' ended in 2013, and she later starred in Bad Judge. She played Olivia Baker in 13 Reasons Why and The Handler in The Umbrella Academy.

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Eric Dane (Dr. Mark Sloan)

Dr. Mark Sloan debuted as a guest in season 2 and was promoted to as a series regular in season 3. Mark was written off in a dramatic way after Lexie died in a plane crash in season 8, and he succumbed to injuries in season 9. 

Actor Eric Dane at L.A. Premiere Of HBO's 'Euphoria. Eric Dane had portrayed the role of Dr. Mark Sloan for a total of 138 episodes in the TV series, Grey's Anatomy

He chose to leave the medical drama series after appearing in 2 episodes of season 9 to star in a new show, The Last Ship

Sara Ramirez (Dr. Callie Torres)

Sara, who played one of the groundbreaking bisexual characters Dr. Callie Torres, left after ten seasons when she moved to New York to be with her then-girlfriend, Penny.

Addressing her decision to leave, she wrote in a note,

"I'm deeply grateful to have spent the last ten years with my family at Grey's Anatomy & ABC, but for now, I'm taking some welcome time off."

Actress Sara Ramirez at the WorldPride NYC 2019 Opening Ceremony at Barclays Center. Sara Ramirez portrayed the role of Dr. Callie Torres at Grey's Anatomy

In 2016, she came out as a bisexual, donated her hair to Locks of Love charity and currently, dons a sports a buzz cut. She has been starring as Kat Sandoval in Madam Secretary

5 Unknown facts about Grey's Anatomy star Sara Ramirez

Sarah Drew (Dr. April Kepner) & Jessica Capshaw (Dr. Arizona Robbins)

Sarah's character got a happy ending at the end of season 14 as she got married to her old flame, Matthew, and left Grey Sloan to help homeless communities in Seattle.

Actress Sarah Drew attending  Entertainment Weekly's 2016 Pre-Emmy Party at Nightingale Plaza. Sarah Drew portrayed the role of Dr. April Kepner in Grey's Anatomy

Jessica's departure was portrayed in season 14 penultimate episode as Arizona moved to New York City to be closer to the daughter she shares with her ex, Callie.

Actress Jessica Capshaw at ELLE’s Women In Television Celebration presented by Hearts on Fire Diamonds. Jessica Capshaw portrayed the role of Dr. Arizona Robbins on Grey's Anatomy

The network announced that Sarah and Jessica would be leaving after the end of season 14 in March 2018 and showrunner, Krista Vernoff stated the reason to be a creative one.

What happened to April Kepner in Grey's Anatomy? Is she alive?

Patrick Dempsey (Dr. Derek Shepherd)

Patrick, who played Dr. Derek Shepherd, was loved for his on-screen chemistry with Ellen Pompeo's Meredith Grey. 

He was a series regular from 2005 until his character was dramatically killed in a season 11 episode allegedly after his clash with Shonda. 

Actor Patrick Dempsey at the premiere of Bridget Jones's Diary. Patrick Dempsey portrayed the role of Dr. Derek Shepherd on NBC's Grey's Anatomy

Following Grey's Anatomy, he worked on small screen projects like The Limit,' 'Fodors and The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair. He left the show to focus on developing, racing, and also being a father to his children.

Justin Chambers (Dr. Alex Karev)

After appearing as one of the original cast members of the show, Justin Chambers announced his departure on January 10, 2020.

"As I turn 50 and am blessed with my remarkable, supportive wife and five wonderful children, now is that time,” said the actor who portrayed the role of Dr Alex Karev."

Actor Justin Chambers at NBC Upfront. Justin Chambers portrayed the role of Dr. Alex Karev in NBC's Grey's Anatomy


The 50-year-old has won People's Choice Awards, Prism Awards and Satellite Awards for his role.

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