Justin Chambers on 'Grey's Anatomy'

Karev Is Leaving ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ & That's The Sound Of Fans Everywhere Sobbing

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ABC/Kelsey McNeal

Grey's Anatomy knows how to emotionally wreck its fans, and this latest twist is really going to hurt. So, let's just rip off the bandage: Justin Chambers is leaving Grey’s Anatomy, meaning viewers have to say goodbye to the beloved Dr. Alex Karev. The announcement was made on Jan. 10, less than two weeks before the series' mid-season premiere.

Grey's is in its sixteenth season, so fans are pretty jaded about cast members coming and going on the reg. However, Chambers is one of only four remaining actors who have been on the show from the very start, making his departure especially heart-wrenching.

For his part, Chambers also seems pretty emotional about this conscious uncoupling. "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," he told 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."

Chambers explained he's leaving Grey's in order to diversify his acting roles. Considering he's been playing the same character for the past 15 years, it's an understandable career move. "As I turn 50 and am blessed with my remarkable, supportive wife and five wonderful children, now is that time,” he said.

After you get over the shock of discovering Chambers went from intern to a 50-year-old dreamboat TV doctor in the blink of an eye, you'll probably immediately jump to wondering how, and when, the show will address his exit. Unfortunately for fans who are all caught up on the show's current season, that's all you're going to get from Chambers; the Nov. 14 episode, "My Shot," was the actor's last. In the following week's episode, "Let's All Go to the Bar," Karev wasn't there; he had gone home to take care of his ailing mom. Apparently, he won't return from that trip.

Grey's Anatomy returns to ABC with its Karev-less mid-season premiere in a two-hour crossover event with Station 19 starting at 8 p.m. ET. on Jan. 23.

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