Justin Chambers has announced that he's leaving Grey's Anatomy.
And he's done so in stunning fashion:
By confirming that he's already left the beloved ABC drama!
“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,” Chambers said in a statement to Deadline on Friday, adding:
“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.”
He's not kidding, either: he means right now, at this very moment.
Chambers -- who has starred on Grey's Anatomy as Dr. Alex Karev since the very first episode -- was last seen in Grey’s Anatomy 350th installment, which aired November 14.
Sources indicate that he has no plans to return to the show in the future.
In his statement, Chambers went on to acknowledge ABC/ABC Studios, Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes and the three remaining original cast members with whom he has worked alongside since the pilot in 2004:
“As I move on from Grey’s Anatomy, I want to thank the ABC family, Shonda Rimes, 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."
With no significant goodbye planned for his character, many fans are assuming that Chambers is leaving the series due to bad blood and/or some sort of major controversy.
They also believe this because Grey's Anatomy does have a history of its stars departing under challenging circumstances.
Patrick Dempsey, for example, was written off the series a few years ago before his contract was up because he made it clear he wasn't happy in his role.
Way back in the day, well over a decade ago, Isaiah Washington was fired for making homophobic remarks.
And then Katherine Heigl also left the drama after basically trashing the show's writers.
In this case, however, reps for both Chambers and ABC swear to TV Line that no such scandal is behind Chambers' decision to exit the program in the middle of a season.
Instead, it simply appears that the final reference to Karev will be what his colleagues said about the character during the November 21 episode:
That he left to take care of his sick mother.
And that's it.
ABC has already renewed Grey's Anatomy through NEXT season, with star Ellen Pompeo signed to a contract that also runs through that season.
Who the heck can say about a show that we never imagined would still be in the air... but it's very safe to assume the series will finally sign off at that point, in May of 2021.
In a recent interview, Pompeo said she hopes some old characters make their returns for the finale, whenever it comes.
We wouldn't have guessed at the time that she would have been referring to Karev, along with Burke and Yang and many others.
But here we are, folks.
Pompeo, Chandra Wilson, and James Pickens Jr. are now the only original cast members remaining on the venerable series.
Will they all stick around through the very end?
Only time will tell.