Ellen Pompeo Responds to Justin Chambers' Surprising 'Grey's Anatomy' Exit

Meaghan Darwish
ABC/Richard Cartwright

Fans were in for quite the shock on Friday when Justin Chambers released a statement that he was leaving Grey's Anatomy after more than 15 seasons with the series.

The actor, who plays Dr. Alex Karev, was one of the few remaining original series stars, leaving Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson and James Pickens Jr. as the sole cast members from the beginning of Grey's. While not much was revealed in his statement, there was even less reaction from Chambers' castmates, who had yet to comment on the exit until Saturday.

Justin Chambers Leaving 'Grey's Anatomy' After 15 Years

Justin Chambers Leaving 'Grey's Anatomy' After 15 Years

Chambers, who has played Alex Karev on the medical drama since the series premiere in 2005, will exit sometime in Season 16.

Pompeo, who leads the show as Dr. Meredith Grey, reacted to a tweet sent out by Vanity Fair that reads, "#GreysAnatomy is about to feel one of its biggest losses yet," which was accompanied by an article elaborating on Chambers' departure.

In response, she tweeted, "Truer words have never been spoken," accompanied by a heartbroken emoji. News of Chambers' move initially said he'd be "leaving," but later reports revealed that he actually won't be seen in any episodes moving forward as his final appearance already aired.

(Credit: ABC/Kelsey McNeal)

"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 had said in his statement. "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."

"As I move on from Grey's Anatomy, I want to thank the ABC family, Shonda Rhimes, 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 continued.

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While Pompeo's brief remark may not provide any background on the shocking exit, her sentiment echoes fans' own feelings. Only time will tell how the show will handle this character's departure long-term.

Grey's Anatomy, Season 16 Returns, Thursday, January 23, 9/8c, ABC