Justin Chambers’ exit from Grey’s Anatomy was devasting for fans and cast members alike, as he left behind his character, Dr Alex Karev, which he portrayed for 16 seasons.
Justin Chambers unexpectedly left Grey’s Anatomy during season 16, after deciding that at the age of 50, he would like to explore acting roles outside of his character on the show, Dr Alex Karev. Justin left the long-running medical drama in 2019, which saw viewers shocked at learning that the last remaining original cast member, besides the lead character, Meredith Grey, had exited the show without any warning.
After 16 seasons of portraying the snarky, yet sensitive Dr Alex Karev, Justin decided it was time to bid farewell to the character. This left Meredith, played by Ellen Pompeo, as the last of the first five interns that were introduced at Seattle Grace Hospital. Although the viewers were spotlighted as the ones with the biggest reactions, Justin’s cast members were equally shocked and upset by his departure. Many understood his reasons for leaving, but were saddened by the devastating impact of his departure on the remaining characters.
Ellen Pompeo shared an Instagram post stating, “For me, personally, for Karev to go back to the beginning… was the best possible storyline. It pays homage to those incredible first years and the incredible cast… that created a foundation so strong that the show is still standing. So, let’s not be sad. As our fearless leader DA always says, let’s pull up and celebrate the actors, the writers and the fantastic crew who make this show come to life every week.”
Justin’s on-screen wife, Camilla Luddington, who plays Jo Wilson, shared a subtle tweet on the night of the episode’s airing, expressing her support for her character. She acknowledged the pain Jo was left in and tweeted, “Jo’s my hero too.” Kim Raver, who plays Dr Teddy Altman, shared the sentiments of executive producer, Krista Vernoff, who stated, “For 16 years and 16 seasons, we have grown alongside Alex Karev. We have been frustrated by his limitations and we have been inspired by his growth and we have come to love him as one of our very best friends.”