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Ellen Pompeo comments on departure from 'Grey's Anatomy' in 'grateful' note to fans

“You know the show must go on and I’ll definitely be back to visit,” the actor wrote on Instagram.
ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" - Season Eighteen
Ellen Pompeo in Season 18, Episode Eight of "Grey's Anatomy."Liliane Lathan / ABC via Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

For 19 seasons, viewers have tuned in to episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy” expecting to see Meredith Grey attempt to balance her work and personal lives, but that is about to change.

In the midseason finale on Thursday, Nov. 10, Ellen Pompeo’s character Meredith announced her plan to leave Grey Sloan and relocate with her children to Boston. 

The reveal was not a complete shock. Before the season aired, Variety reported in August that Ellen Pompeo would have a reduced role for the first time since the show premiered in 2005. Pompeo committed to eight episodes this season, meaning viewers will only see her two more times when the long-running drama returns in 2023. 

While “Grey Anatomy” fans will still hear Pompeo’s voice in Meredith’s narrators, a staple of the series, this will be the first time the show shifts its main focus to the other doctors and residents. 

On Thursday, Nov. 17, Pompeo penned a sweet message on Instagram to her fans as they prepare to say farewell to Meredith for the unforeseeable future. 

She wrote her statement beside a picture of her sitting in front of a neon pink sign that said “All you need is love.”

“I am eternally grateful and humbled by the love and support you have all shown me, Meredith GREY and the show for 19 seasons!” she began in the caption. “Through it all….none of it …would have been possible without the best fans in the world. You all are RIDERS and you all have made the ride so fun and ICONIC!!”

She continued, “I love you madly and appreciate you right back. This isn’t your first time on the rollercoaster… you know the show must go on and I’ll definitely be back to visit.”

At the end of her message, Pompeo expressed her gratitude and love for the fans that have supported her and the show throughout the years. 

While Pompeo will continue to be an executive producer of the series along with creator Shonda Rhimes, the 53-year-old actor will focus on a new role. 

Variety reported in August that Pompeo will star in an untitled Hulu limited series. Her new show will focus on a Midwestern couple whose marriage is tested after they adopt a Ukrainian-born 8-year-old girl. After welcoming the girl into their home, the parents soon question if their daughter is who she claims to be. The series is inspired by a true story. 

Hulu has not announced a release date for the show. 

Following the midseason finale, ABC released a trailer for the winter premiere of “Grey’s Anatomy” that confirms Feb. 23 will be the episode where Meredith’s co-workers celebrate her and say goodbye.

According to Deadline, Pompeo is expected to return to “Grey’s Anatomy” for the Season 19 finale. 

The drama has been slowly preparing fans for Meredith’s departure by introducing a new group of interns this season. 

With Pompeo scaling back her episodes, Chandra Wilson and James Pickens Jr. now remain as the last two original cast members. 

Pompeo follows Justin Chambers, Jesse Williams, Patrick Dempsey, Sara Ramirez, Katherine Heigl, Sandra Oh and more actors who have bid farewell to “Grey’s Anatomy.”