Patrick Dempsey Says He Should Have Left 'Grey's Anatomy' Sooner

Playing Dr. Derek Shepherd for 11 seasons, the 'Bridget Jones's Baby' actor says he stayed too long on the ABC medical drama series.

AceShowbiz - Patrick Dempsey had no regret about leaving "Grey's Anatomy". In fact, he thinks that he should've done it sooner. The actor who played Dr. Derek Shepherd for 11 seasons on the Shonda Rhimes drama says he stayed too long on the ABC series.

"It had been long enough," he says in an interview with PEOPLE. "It was time for me to move on with other things and other interests. I probably should have moved on a couple of years earlier. I stayed a bit longer than I should have."

Still, he's grateful for the opportunity. "I'm very grateful for 'Grey's Anatomy'," Dempsey says in the latest issue of the magazine. "It's given me the opportunity to do everything. But at the same time, there was a cost."

He adds that his commitment to the show took a toll on his relationship with his wife Jillian and their three children as he spent so much time away from his family. "I think after a certain period of time, no matter how much money you make, you want control out of your own schedule," he explains his decision to leave the long-running series.

Dempsey reveals that he had discussion with series creator Rhimes about his exit, but his character's departure was kept a secret. "It was clear we were both ready. But we kept it very quiet," he recalls, adding, "I knew he was going to be gone, but I didn't know how she was going to handle it. Shonda just said, 'I'm going to do it in a really good way' and she did her thing."

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