Grey's Anatomy fans aren't the only ones reeling from the sad reality of life without Karev. Star Ellen Pompeo's reaction to Justin Chambers leaving Grey's is all the proof you need that she's just as devastated as everyone else by his abrupt exit. Responding to a Saturday, Jan. 11, Vanity Fair tweet that surmised Chambers' departure will cause Grey's "to feel one of its biggest losses yet," Pompeo replied: "Truer words have never been spoken." The actor closed her reply with a broken heart emoji.
This was the first time Pompeo (aka Meredith Grey) addressed the shocking news that broke on Friday, Jan. 10. In a statement to Deadline, Chambers, who's played Alex Karev in the ABC medical drama since its 2004 debut, explained: "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. 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 also took the opportunity to specifically thank Grey's creator Shonda Rhimes, along with his remaining fellow original cast mates: Pompeo, Chandra Wilson (Miranda Bailey), and James Pickens Jr. (Dr. Richard Webber). Karev was the last member of Meredith's intern class on the series, following the exits of actors Sandra Oh (Cristina Yang), Katherine Heigl (Izzie Stevens), and T.R. Knight (George O’Malley), over the years.
As it turns out, fans weren't even able to give Karev a proper sendoff. The show's Nov. 14 installment was actually Chambers' final Grey's episode, TVLine confirmed via sources on Jan. 10, leading some to believe the actor didn't give the show much notice. In his final onscreen appearance, Karev came to Meredith's rescue during her medical board hearing, bringing an army of character witnesses — and even a touching letter from Cristina herself that he read to the committee.
The subsequent episode revealed that Chambers' character had returned home to care for his sick mother, and Karev did not appear in the Grey's Season 16 mid-season fall finale on Nov. 21. While it remains to be seen how the show will officially wrap up Karev's storylines, Chambers in his Jan. 10 statement also acknowledged "the fans for an extraordinary ride." It certainly seems the Pompeo is very much a part of that crew of his admirers.