Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) is about to lose her person for good.
“Grey’s Anatomy” star Sandra Oh is leaving the ABC hit medical drama, The Hollywood Reporter reports. Oh — who has played original cast member doctor Cristina Yang since the series premiered in 2005 — will leave the series after the upcoming Season 10 ends.
“Creatively, I really feel like I gave it my all, and I feel ready to let her go,” Oh says. “It’s such an interesting thing to play a character for so long and to actually get the sense that she wants to be let go as well. [Cristina] wants to be let go, and I am ready to let her go. We have to start the process, story-wise, for the ‘Grey’s’ writers to think of why she’s going to go.”
In May of 2012, the “original six” “Grey’s Anatomy” cast members all signed new two-year deals to take them through the 10th season of the series, and that is when Oh began to think about ending her run. “I’ve gone through a lot of therapy over this,” Oh says. “I started thinking about it because I had to prepare myself. I gave myself two years to emotionally let go. At the end of last season, [creator] Shonda [Rhimes] took me aside and said, ‘What are your thoughts?’ I said, ‘I’m ready.'”
Rhimes has always been outspoken about how she sees herself in Cristina. “One of the best days of my life as a writer happened the day Sandra Oh walked in my door to audition and forever changed the course of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ with her brilliant, nuanced portrayal of Cristina Yang,” Rhimes says. “Over the past 10 seasons, I have been made better by Sandra’s trust, faith and friendship, and I can’t quantify how grateful I am for her collaboration on a character we both love so deeply. This year is going to be bittersweet for us — we’re both going to savor every moment of Cristina Yang, and then we’re going to give her the exit she deserves. And when Sandra walks out of my door, ‘Grey’s Anatomy ‘will once again be forever changed.”
There is no word yet on how Oh’s departure will translate onscreen. And while at this time no additional cast members are expected to follow her lead and leave the series, the two-year contracts for stars Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey (Derek), Justin Chambers (Alex), James Pickens Jr. (Webber), and Chandra Wilson (Bailey) are all up at the end of season 10 so who know what will happen between then and now. In the meantime, the four interns have been promoted to series regulars.
“Grey’s Anatomy” Season 10 premieres on Sept. 26 on ABC.