Grey’s Anatomy Fans React Wildly To Ellen Pompeo’s Official Exit Post, But Why All The Surprise?

Meredith Grey looks surprised on Grey's Anatomy
(Image credit: ABC)

Grey’s Anatomy is now on winter hiatus, after a tragic Season 19 fall finale saw Meredith Grey’s house go up in flames. It was a stark reminder that the long-running medical drama is entering a new era, as Ellen Pompeo prepares to exit the series. The actress took to Instagram to thank fans for supporting her and the show for so long, which threw Twitter into upheaval. Some fans apparently didn’t get the memo that her time with Grey’s was coming to an end, despite Pompeo’s previous announcement that she would only appear in a limited capacity, and her character’s arc has Meredith and her children moving to Boston.

Ellen Pompeo posted a statement to her Instagram page on November 17, and along with thanking the loyal fans who helped to make Grey’s Anatomy iconic, the actress assured us she would be back to visit. Check out Pompeo’s goodbye post: 

When Grey’s Anatomy returns on Thursday, February 23, Meredith Grey will be bidding farewell to the hospital that developed her into a world-class surgeon and moving to Boston. Her daughter Zola was actually the catalyst for the move. The early episodes of the season showed Meredith figuring out that her daughter’s panic attacks were in part due to her previously unknown genius-level abilities. Zola fell in love with a gifted school in Boston, where Jackson Avery was also prepared to offer Meredith a job working there on Alzheimer’s research. 

Despite this plot playing out over the past few weeks on Thursday nights (and the preview for the February 23 episode that shows Meredith on her last day at Grey Sloan Memorial), fans like this one on Twitter still seemed to be blindsided by Ellen Pompeo’s post:

Apparently some fans must have been hoping for a reprieve, or perhaps for Meredith’s story to be continued in Boston like her time in Minnesota was last season. Ellen Pompeo’s making it official definitely broke some hearts: 

Ahead of Season 19, it was announced that Ellen Pompeo would only appear in eight episodes this season. The February 23 episode will be her seventh, and she’s also set to appear in the Season 19 finale. She later told CinemaBlend that she had no plans to return in a full-time capacity even past Season 19.

She’s also spoken multiple times in the past year about wanting Grey’s Anatomy to end, and this fan likely captured exactly what it’s going to look like when Ellen Pompeo finally wraps on the 19-season assignment: 

A group of five new interns was brought in to give the series a breath of fresh air in this new era, though some still wonder how Grey’s Anatomy can continue without its namesake character: 

It’s an emotional time for Grey’s Anatomy fans, to be sure, but Ellen Pompeo’s goodbye post shouldn’t come as a surprise. While we await the show’s return in February, the first 18 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy can be streamed with a Netflix subscription, while Season 19 is available with a Hulu subscription. See what else is coming our way in the new year with our 2023 TV schedule

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.