Deadline broke the news of Justin Chambers’ unexpected exit from medical drama, Grey’s Anatomy. Chambers will not get a dramatized exit, with his last appearance “for the foreseeable future” being the show’s 350th episode, which aired Nov. 14, 2019.
“There’s no good time to say goodbye to a show and character that’s defined so much of my life for the past 15 years,” Chambers said.
The popular ABC drama, created by Shonda Rhimes, is midway through season 16. The fate of Chambers’ character, Dr. Alex Karev, is currently unknown. In the Nov. 14 episode, the character was seen leaving the hospital to care for his ailing mother.
Chambers continued in the same statement to Deadline, “For some time now, however, I have hoped to diversify my acting roles and career choices. And, as I turn 50 and am blessed with my remarkable, supportive wife and five wonderful children, now is that time.”
Chambers went on to thank ABC, creator Shonda Rimes, the fans of the show, as well as the three other original cast members, Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson and James Pickens.
Actors still on the award-winning show have commented on Chambers’ exit, with actor Jake Borelli, who plays Dr. Levi Schmitt, stating, “Alex Karev, the character, has been a massive part of the show for so long, so it’s going to be interesting being in the hospital without that force.”
Jason George, who now stars on Grey’s Anatomy spinoff, Station 19, said, “He’s not the first person to leave the show and he won’t be the last…if he says it’s time, it’s time.”
The show’s star Ellen Pompeo (who plays Dr. Meredith Grey) responded to Vanity Fair’s news article about Chambers’ exit being one of Greys Anatomy’s biggest losses yet, stating “Truer words have never been spoken @VanityFair,” with a broken heart emoji.
— Ellen Pompeo (@EllenPompeo) January 11, 2020
Grey’s Anatomy, the longest running medical drama on television, will return with its midseason premiere on Jan. 23 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.