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‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Showrunner Reveals When Fans Will Get ‘Clarity’ on Justin Chambers’ Sudden Exit

Heartbreak ahead for Jo? Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff broke her silence on Justin Chamberssudden exit from the series and how his departure will be explained.

Related: Every Star Who’s Left ‘Grey’s Anatomy’: Where Are They Now?

The executive producer described the process in an interview with Variety as “a very careful threading of a needle, where we are giving a little bit of information and pain to Jo.”

She added: “We’re, episode by episode, illuminating the story of where Alex is. And it takes us quite a few more episodes to get there and to give the audience clarity.”

Justin Chambers Grey's Anatomy Sudden Exit
Justin Chambers during an episode of ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ ABC/Byron Cohen

Vernoff noted that given Jo’s (Camilla Luddington) previous trajectory, the writers handled Alex’s exit with caution where her character was concerned. “Jo went through so much pain and so much grief just last season that I wanted to be careful,” she said. “And so it’s a bit of a mystery [what’s going on with Alex], so that we don’t watch Jo in the same place that we watched her last season. We did it as carefully as we could. But it takes a while to get there.”

Related: Shocking TV Exits

Alex was last seen in a November 2019 episode, during which he left town to take care of his mother. Jo hinted at his permanent departure in the Thursday, February 13, episode, telling Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) that Alex had stopped returning her phone calls. As for Chambers, his final appearance on the show already aired.

The actor, 49, announced in January that he was leaving Grey’s Anatomy after 16 seasons as a series regular. “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,” he said in a statement at the time. “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.”

Related: TV Stars Who Left Shows and Came Back

He went on to thank “the ABC family, Shonda Rhimes, original cast members Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson and James Pickens, and the rest of the amazing cast and crew, both past and present, and, of course, the fans for an extraordinary ride.”

Pompeo, 50, reacted to the news in January, retweeting a Vanity Fair post that read, “#GreysAnatomy is about to feel one of its biggest losses yet.” The actress replied along with a broken-heart emoji: “Truer words have never been spoken @VanityFair.”

Justin Chambers Grey's Anatomy Sudden Exit
Justin Chambers during an episode of ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ ABC/Richard Cartwright

Chambers said in a video obtained by Page Six in January that he is looking forward to “life, family, love and friendship” in his next chapter. “Grey’s has been very supportive of me and I’m very grateful and it’s been a great ride,” he gushed. “Of course, anywhere that you spend 15 years, it’s a big chunk of your life.”

Grey’s Anatomy airs on ABC Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET.

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