Justin Chambers shocked fans when he announced on Friday that he was leaving Grey’s Anatomy (Thursdays on CTV) after 16 seasons. One of only four original cast members remaining on the long-running medical drama, Chambers made the announcement in a statement to Deadline, confirming that his final appearance had already aired during the show’s November 14 episode.
Chambers sudden departure, which didn’t allow for any real kind of send off for his character Dr. Alex Karev, left fans speculating that their may have been more going on behind the scenes. Later in the day on January 10, Page Six broke the news that Chambers has been seeking treatment for stress and depression, which may have been the cause for his abrupt exit from the series.
On Monday, Chambers was spotted outside the celebrity hangout spot Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood, California and spoke to a videographer from Page Six. Making his first public comments since announcing his departure, Chambers said that he’s “taking things one day at a time,” adding that leaving Grey’s Anatomy was an emotional decision. “Of course, anywhere that you spend 15 years, it’s a big chunk of your life,” said Chambers, who added that he’s open to different acting roles and also wants to also work behind the scenes on documentaries.
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Chambers was friendly and forthcoming with the videographer but turned vague when asked about whether he spent time at Privé-Swiss, a luxury facility in Connecticut where the actor was reportedly seeking treatment for mental health-related issues. When asked whether he had been a patient at the facility that has also treated Kit Harington and Selena Gomez, Chambers responded “Maybe,” adding that he’d rather not talk about it. The actor ended the interaction on a positive note, adding “Anyways, Grey’s has been very supportive of me and I’m very grateful and it’s been a great ride.”
In his announcement to Deadline, Chambers thanked the cast and crew of Grey’s Anatomy, including show creator Shonda Rhimes and his fellow OG co-stars Ellen Pompeo, James Pickens and Chandra Wilson. “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,” said Chambers. “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 did not appear in the November 21 fall finale of the show. His character’s absence was explained by an out-of-town visit to his sick mother but Chamber’s sudden exit leaves many unknowns for his character, who is married to Camila Luddington’s Jo. Karev had been fired from Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital at the end of Season 15 and had been running the nearby Pac North Hospital in Season 16, recruiting other doctors, including Pickens’ Richard Webber and Kevin McKidd’s Owen Hunt.
The cast and crew of Grey’s Anatomy have remained relatively quiet about Chamber’s exit, with Pompeo making a short but sweet statement on Twitter.
Grey’s Anatomy returns without Justin Chambers on Thursday, January 23.