Why Did the Cast of Grey’s Anatomy Leave the Show? Justin Chambers
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..”
Now, she is leading BBC America’s Killing Eve as Eve Polastri, an MI5 officer, and has earned several awards for her outstanding portrayal.
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.”
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.
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.
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 ChambersJustin Chambers
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.
‘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.
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.
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)
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
The 50-year-old has won People’s Choice Awards, Prism Awards and Satellite Awards for his role.