Shonda Rhimes on Sandra Oh's 'Grey's Anatomy' Exit: 'I So Wished It Wasn't True'

Shonda Rhimes on Sandra Oh's 'Grey's Anatomy' Exit: 'I So Wished It Wasn't True'

Oh will leave the ABC medical drama series at the end of season 10, thinking her character Cristina Yang 'wants to be let go.'
"Grey's Anatomy" family will let go another of its members. Sandra Oh has just announced that she will leave the long-running series at the end of the upcoming season 10. "Creatively, I really feel like I gave it my all, and I feel ready to let her go," she tells The Hollywood Reporter.

"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 Yang] wants to be let go, and I am ready to let her go," she adds. "We have to start the process, story-wise, for the Grey's writers to think of why she's going to go."

Revealing that she first thought about quitting the show in May 2012, she explains, "I started thinking about it because I had to prepare myself. I gave myself two years to emotionally let go." Saying the decision "doesn't feel real," she additionally opens up, "I seriously think I need that much support over processing it over this next year for me to be able to leave fully and leave in a way that I feel like Cristina deserves."

Series creator Shonda Rhimes is equally emotional about Oh's exit, but she has always supported the actress all the way. "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," the showrunner 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."

In an interview with THR, Rhimes admits, "It was one of those things where I so wished it wasn't true for many reasons," before adding, "I would hope that it wouldn't be happening -- but I also know Sandra, and I know that it's time for her to have new challenges. I get to have new challenges all the time because I get to create other shows, but she doesn't get to do that, so I fully understood it."

Asked if there's any other original cast members who will leave the show, she says she has "no idea at this time," although she realizes that "everybody has different factors that influence whether they want to stay or go, none of which is they don't want to be there." Personally, she wants "everybody for as long as they want to stay."

Rhimes has mapped out the end of Yang's storyline, but she won't spill it, assuring that "it won't be until the end of the season" Oh's exit is addressed on the show. Of her feelings to write out Yang from the story, she says, "This is the first one of the five that's leaving where nobody wants them to leave; it's that feeling."

Oh is one of the original six members of "Grey's Anatomy". The other five are Patrick Dempsey, Ellen Pompeo, James Pickens Jr., Chandra Wilson and Justin Chambers. Over the past two seasons, the ABC medical drama series have bid farewell to its stars, including Eric Dane, Chyler Leigh and Kim Raver.

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