Grey's Anatomy stars Sarah Drew and Jessica Capshaw were recently revealed to be leaving the long-running ABC medical drama at the end of the show's current and 14th season, and fans have been speculating about the reason behind the duo's departure.
During an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Thursday, series star Ellen Pompeo addressed the topic, first shooting down rumors that the women left the show because the show could not afford them due to Pompeo's $20 million salary.
“It’s absolutely not true," Pompeo said before offering a potential reason for the producers' decision to have the actresses exit the series.
“I mean, I’m not involved in these kind of decisions, however, there's a few problems that you encounter doing a show for 14 seasons,” she said. “One of them is the writers have a really hard time creatively thinking up new stories for all these characters. I think we have 16 regular cast members, and I think it’s always sad when we lose people for whatever reason. Whether they want to go or don’t want to go, it doesn’t make it any easier.”
Capshaw has been on the show for 10 seasons, nine of them as a series regular, playing Dr. Arizona Robbins while Drew has been a cast member for nine seasons, eight of them as a series regular, playing Dr. April Kepner.
“I think that it’s important for us to not pit women against each other and to really dispel the notion that women are always victims,” Pompeo said. “You don’t have to pit us against each other. We’re not enemies. We do lift each other up and support each other, and we’re not victims. We’re very strong and we’re capable of many, many things.”
After the departures were announced, both Capshaw and Drew released statements addressing their exits.
"I am sad to see [Arizona] go, but I am consoled by the idea that she will continue to live on and on in all of our consciences and our imaginations," Capshaw's statement read, via Entertainment Tonight.
Drew shared her words shortly after receiving the news.
"I know you're sad. I'm sad too. I haven't really had the time to process this information," Drew wrote. "I've been with it for less than 48 hours, so I'm not ready to say my thank yous and give an all-encompassing statement about my 9 years here. That will come later. For now, I'd like to say: I love you, and I love April, and her story isn't over yet."
Photo Credit: The Ellen DeGeneres Show