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Chyler Leigh Reveals How She Feels About Lexie’s Death on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ 12 Years Later (Exclusive)

Chyler Leigh is well aware that Grey’s Anatomy fans still mourn her character Lexie Grey’s untimely death nearly 12 years later, but she tells Us Weekly that she wouldn’t change Lexie’s fate.

“That’s a pretty epic way to go,” Leigh, 41, told Us exclusively while promoting her Hallmark Channel series, The Way Home.

Grey’s fans will remember Lexie’s tragic death in the season 8 finale, titled “Flight,” where a group of Seattle Grace’s finest were involved in a plane crash, leaving Lexie trapped under the wreckage. The tragic episode aired in April 2012, and later episodes revealed that the surviving doctors watched animals consume her dead body.

“You get crushed under the fuselage of a plane and then apparently eaten by wolves?” Leigh recalled. “But then — think about it — then if I was pooped out, what if Lexie turned into a tree?”

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Leigh elaborated on her positive spin of Lexie’s death: “Do you know what I mean? Now I’m forever part of oxygenating the world.”

She has a pleasant take on a death that still makes fans emotional, but Leigh remains thankful that viewers still care about the doctor more than a decade later. “I will always be incredibly grateful for that character and for that storyline,” Leigh told Us. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from people that are going into the medicine field and that are like, ‘I started just like this and I get to watch Lexi’s journey.’ … I appreciate how it affects fans.”

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Lexie was introduced as a whip-smart intern at Seattle Grace during season 3, looking to get to know Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), her older half-sister. Her character saw many ups and downs throughout her six-season run, including romances with Alex Karev (Justin Chambers), Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams) and Mark (Eric Dane).

“Lexie was great. Her glow-ups were very apparent, sans the blonde hair — that was a lot,” she said, referring to her Grey’s Anatomy season 6 sudden hair color change. “But the people that I worked with were great, and I learned a lot.”

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Leigh added that while she thought her onscreen medical skills may apply in real life, they most definitely do not.

“I really thought, ‘You know what? I think maybe if someone did get hurt around me, I could fix it,’” she said. “And I definitely couldn’t fix it.”

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Since she left the ABC medical drama in 2012, Leigh has remained a small screen staple. She spent six seasons on The CW’s Supergirl before making her way to Hallmark Channel in 2023. Leigh currently stars on the network’s The Way Home, which follows three generations of women who reunite after two decades of estrangement and explore their family’s history through newfound time-travel abilities. The second season premiered in January and has already been renewed for a third season. Leigh shared with Us that she feels connected to her character as a mother herself. (She and husband Nathan West, who married in 2002, share three children.)

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“I have two daughters, 15 and 17,” she said. “It definitely lends itself to making things a bit more relatable, a bit easier to sort of dredge up an emotion that I can connect to. Even though circumstances are wildly different, that emotion is the same.”

The Way Home airs on Hallmark Channel Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.

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