Why Those Two Grey’s Anatomy Actresses Are Really Leaving The Show, According To Ellen Pompeo

Meredith Grey in a red sweater

There's long running TV shows, and then there's ABC's Grey's Anatomy. The medical drama is currently in the midst of its whopping 14th season on the network, and is showing no signs of slowing anytime soon. There's been a ton of press surrounding Grey's in the past few months, as Ellen Pomeo signed a groundbreaking deal to become the highest paid female actress on TV. News recently broke that long running stars Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew would be departing after this season, with rumors swirling around that Pompeo's salary was somehow a factor in the decision. Everyone from the show has denied this, and now Ellen Pompeo has provided a reason why the duo of actresses are going to be written off.

I mean, I'm not involved in these kind of decisions, however, there's a few problems that you encounter doing a show for 14 seasons. One of them is the writers have a really hard time creatively thinking up new stories for all these characters. I think we have 16 regular cast members, and I think it's always sad when we lose people for whatever reason. Whether they want to go or don't want to go, it doesn't make it any easier.

It looks like it may just be a matter of writing difficulties that factored into why Grey's Anatomy fans are going to watch a show next season void of Arizona Robbins and April Kepner. Considering that they've been on the cast between 9-10 years, we've see the surgeons go through a variety of major life changes.

Ellen Pomeo's comments come from her recent appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show. Degeneres asked Pompeo about the scandal revolving around Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew's departure, and Pompeo tried once again to set the record straight. Although in confirming the decision made by production, she might have also given a sliver of new information: that the actresses might not have necessarily wanted to leave the Grey's Anatomy at all.

Grey's Anatomy has seen a ton of actors come and go, as the surgeons as Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital have rotated. While stars like Sandra Oh and Patrick Dempsey left on their own volition, there have been some less than ideal departures as well. Isaiah Washington was infamously fired after making homophobic remarks on set, while Katherine Heigl essentially stopped showing up back in Season 6.

Overall, Sarah Drew and Jessica Capshaw's departures seem to be agreeable enough. Neither actresses has had a disparaging word for the show, and Ellen Pompeo and showrunner Krista Vernoff have maintained the same story since the departures were announced. While the writers may have had trouble planning the future of April and Arizona, they'll hopefully have a satisfying conclusion at Season 14's finale.

Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays on ABC. In the meantime, check out our midseason premiere list to plan your next binge watch. Plus our Amazon premiere list and superhero premiere list to ensure you don't miss a single episode.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.