Justin Chambers Teases A Potential Return To ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ After Ellen Pompeo’s Exit

While nothing has been confirmed, Justin Chambers' latest Instagram post has fans thrilled about the prospect of him returning to 'Grey's Anatomy' after departing in 2020.

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Justin Chambers has fans excited over a potential return to Grey’s Anatomy, on which he starred as Dr. Alex Karev for 16 seasons between 2005 and 2020. The 52-year-old actor created some buzz on Tuesday, Jan. 31 after he posted a photo to his Instagram feed of a coffee cup with a Grey’s Anatomy-themed sleeve that showed Dr. Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), Dr. Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson), and Dr. Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr.). “A fresh cup of Greys,” he captioned the post.

Fans immediately took to his comment section to hypothesize about his return. “I’ll take this as a hint that you’re coming back to us. Great, thanks!” one person exclaimed. “Sounds like he’s coming back,” another commented. A third follower seemingly yelled through the screen, writing, “RIGHT JUST ANNOUNCE ALEX KAREVS COMING BACK JUSTIN”.

Justin surprised fans when he announced his departure from the hit ABC series in 2020, especially because he was an original character. However, during an interview for the Grey’s Anatomy tell-all book, How to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey’s Anatomy by Lynette Rice, he said he left because he was no longer getting much enjoyment from his filming routine. “You’re in a bubble [on the show]. You wear scrubs every day, you see pretty much the same people every day, in the same four walls, the same studios, you drive the same route to work,” he explained. “For me it [was] sort of a factory job for acting. You just clock in, clock out. Yeah, I guess it is sentimental, but it’s sort of like, ‘Wow, I just can’t believe how fast it’s gone.’”

Justin Chambers Grey's Anatomy
Justin Chambers played Dr. Alex Karev on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ (Photo: Everett Collection)

The Wedding Planner actor announced his exit from Grey’s Anatomy via a statement he shared with Deadline. “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. 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,” he said. “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.”

Justin’s possible Grey’s teaser comes as Ellen Pompeo’s last episode as a series regular approaches. The Golden Globe Award-nominated actress, 53, was reported to be minimizing her role on the show in Aug. 2022 as she signed on with Hulu to executive produce and star in a new limited series. She then confirmed her departure (but promised she would be back) in Nov. 2022 with a gorgeous Instagram photo of herself, which can be seen below. “I am eternally grateful and humbled by the love and support you have all shown me, Meredith GREY and the show for 19 seasons!” she began in the caption before thanking the show’s loyal fans for their support. “I love you madly and appreciate you right back. This isn’t your first time on the rollercoaster… you know the show must go on and I’ll definitely be back to visit. With a lot of love and immense gratitude.”

Just a month earlier, Ellen gushed to HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY about the opportunity with Hulu. “I’m so excited. I feel really happy and grateful that the company gave me an opportunity to do something different with my new limited series,” she said at the D23 Expo on Sept. 9. Speaking more about the limited series, she added, “It’s a real-life story of a couple in Indiana who adopted a child, and it didn’t go exactly as they had expected. I think we’ve all been in situations like that, where things don’t go as we plan or as we expect, and I think that’s an interesting story.”