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Justin Chambers talks about his tough decision to leave 'Grey's Anatomy'

The actor is looking forward to the next chapter in his career.
/ Source: TODAY

Justin Chambers says he is “grateful” to have had the opportunity to star on “Grey’s Anatomy.”

The actor, 49, announced last week that he is leaving the long-running ABC medical drama. He had starred as Dr. Alex Karev since the series premiered in 2005.

“‘Grey’s’ has been very supportive of me, and I’m very grateful, and it’s been a great ride,” he told paparazzi Monday in West Hollywood, California, The New York Post reported.

Justin Chambers, seen here with co-star Chandra Wilson, has been with "Grey's Anatomy" since the show's inception.Jennifer Clasen / ABC

Chambers knows that he’s leaving behind an experience that has helped define his career.

“Of course, anywhere that you spend 15 years, it’s a big chunk of your life,” he said.

Chambers didn't tip his hand when asked about the possibility that he may try to transition to movies.

"Yeah, I'm open. I'm just taking it one day at a time," he said, also noting he's interested in producing documentaries.

“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 to TODAY when announcing his departure last week. “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.”

Chambers last appeared on the drama on Nov. 14.