Shonda Rhimes teases the way forward for Gray’s Anatomy

How Shonda felt saying goodbye Ellen Pompeo, who left the show in February 2023 after eighteen years? As she put it, “Having Ellen gone was heartbreaking for everyone, but also knowing that she can come back anytime was also important to me.”

Shonda noted that by leaving Meredith Grey’s exit open, she “wanted to make sure everyone understood that the door is always open – for each of our previous characters.”

“Ellen is an amazing person and she and I talked the whole time, talking about when it was time and how it felt,” Shonda said of the actress’ departure. “We’ve always had these discussions because I’ve always wanted her to be excited and invested and enjoying herself just as much as she did when I first started.”

The Queen Charlotte showrunner added that it was time for Meredith to move on so Ellen could “explore new creative things.”

“It was a little heartbreaking moment, but it was also a moment — for me — that she didn’t leave because she’s coming back,” she said. “I don’t think she’s gone off the show, she’s still doing the voiceovers, she’s still there.”

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