‘Grey’s Anatomy’: Major Character Exits After Over a Decade on The Show

by Katie Maloney
(Photo by Peter "Hopper" Stone/ABC via Getty Images)

Have you heard about who’s leaving Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital?

It’s rare that a show successfully lasts for over a decade, let alone a single character. But “Grey’s Anatomy” has aired for 15 seasons and this actor has been along for the ride for 12 of those seasons. Unfortunately, the actor will be leaving the show after the May 20th episode. Can you guess which beloved character is leaving Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital? We’ll give you a hint: he’s been a “Grey’s Anatomy” heartthrob for his entire 12 seasons with the show. If you guessed Dr. Jackson Avery, you are correct.

Actor Jesse Williams, who plays Dr. Jackson Avery on the show, will be leaving “Grey’s Anatomy” at the end of this month. ABC announced the departure on Thursday and Williams has released several statements since then.

“I will forever be grateful for the boundless opportunities provided me…,” said Williams in a statement to People. “As an actor, director and person, I have been obscenely lucky to learn so much from so many and I thank our beautiful fans, who breathe so much energy and appreciation into our shared worlds. The experience and endurance born of creating nearly 300 hours of leading global television is a gift I’ll carry always. I am immensely proud of our work, our impact and to be moving forward with so many tools, opportunities, allies and dear friends.”

Fans are shook. And rightly so, the announcement was a bit abrupt.

One fan wrote, “In two weeks we are going to say goodbye to Jackson and I’m not ready at all.”

Another fan wondered if this was the final season of “Grey’s Anatomy.” They wrote, “If this is the last season of greys, Shonda pls tell me now…Jackson leaving, Deluca dying, Meredith waking up.”

Why is Jesse Williams Leaving ‘Grey’s Anatomy?’

Some fans feel the announcement seemed rushed. But that’s because the decision wasn’t technically made by Williams or the network. So, why is Jesse Williams leaving “Grey’s Anatomy?” Williams’ exit from the show came a month after a judge ordered him and his ex-wife, Aryn Drake-Lee, to attend a “high conflict” parenting course amid their heated custody battle.

The two have been separated for three years but are still working out the custody arrangements for their seven-year-old daughter Sadie and five-year-old son Maceo. The rest of the details of the divorce were finalized in October of last year.

Although the real-life circumstances that are causing Jesse William’s split from “Grey’s Anatomy” aren’t ideal, fans are happy with the turn of events on the show. Last night’s episode showed Dr. Jackson Avery announcing his plans to leave the hospital. But he’s not going alone. His long-time love and mother of his children, April is going with him. The two have had their ups and downs and even split for a time after getting married. But it looks like fans are getting the closure they’ve been wanting with the couple’s happily ever after. See, sometimes love can exist on soap operas!