Ellen Pompeo, 50, is just as sad as us over the news that Justin Chambers, 49, is departing Grey’s Anatomy! Reposting to Vanity Fair‘s tweet, “#GreysAnatomy is about to feel one of its biggest losses yet,” the actress didn’t hold back with her response, adding, “Truer words have never been spoken.” Aww! Ellen, who has played Meredith Grey for the show’s entire 16-season run, also added a heartbreak emoji to the end of our tweet. Justin was also part of the shows original 2005 cast, so it’s no surprise Ellen is feeling emotional about Justin’s exit (just like the rest of us).
Justin confirmed the news himself in a surprising statement on Friday, Jan. 10. “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,” the actor, who plays, Alex Karev, began. “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.” Justin was grateful, however, for the immense opportunity, and went on to thank those involved with the series. “As I move on from Grey’s Anatomy, I want to thank the ABC family, Shonda Rimes, original cast members Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson and James Pickens, and the rest of the amazing cast and crew, both past and present, and, of course, the fans for an extraordinary ride.”
As for how Alex’s storyline will wrap, it turns out that Justin’s final episode already aired on Nov. 14, 2019. The actor was notably absent from the series’ mid-season finale, so fans won’t get the perfect wrap-up they might be looking for. In the Nov. 14, episode Alex was last seen supporting Meredith as she attempted to have her medical license reinstated after fallout from an insurance fraud scandal. Thanks to Alex’s help, Meredith was successful — and it was later explained that his character was off taking care of his sick mother.
— Ellen Pompeo (@EllenPompeo) January 11, 2020
With Alex’s departure, Ellen remains one of the few remaining original characters on the long-running series — though she has nearly quit in the past. “It’s funny: I never wanted ‘off the bus’ in the year that I could get off,” Ellen said Variety in June 2019. “The first 10 years we had serious culture issues, very bad behavior, really toxic work environment. But once I started having kids, it became no longer about me. I need to provide for my family.”