'Grey's Anatomy' Star Jesse Williams Responds to Co-Star Justin Chambers' Exit as Alex Karev

Grey's Anatomy star Jesse Williams is speaking out after the long-running ABC medical drama officially said goodbye to Justin Chambers' Dr. Alex Karev during the March 5 episode. Speaking with Entertainment Tonight, Williams addressed the shocking wrap-up to Alex's 16-year character arc that left many fans criticizing the series and reflected on Chambers' lasting impact on the show, fans, and the cast.

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Grey's Anatomy Season 16, Episode 16, "Leave a Light On."

"It can't not reverberate. It's such an incredible, impactful character," Williams told the outlet of Chambers' Alex. "I've always said that's always been one of my favorite characters."

During the farewell episode, it was revealed via a series of handwritten letters that Alex, who had been absent from the series for weeks, had left Washington and his wife Jo Wilson (Camilla Luddington) to go live on a farm in Kansas with his ex-wife Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl) after he discovered she was raising their 5-year-old twins.

According to Williams, the manner of Alex's departure will have lasting impacts on characters' relationships.

"[Chambers'] been one of the sweetest and funniest guys on set with me and everyone, certainly not just me. He's a light and he's so unassuming and chill as a person. And that character is specific and rooted and motivated," he added. "Yeah, it's a big departure and it will impact all of us and impact the relationships that form and sever as a result, for sure."

The major shakeup for the series and its loyal fans came after Chambers in December announced that he had made the decision to leave Grey's Anatomy after 16 seasons.

"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 part. "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 had first been introduced as Dr. Alex Karev during the Grey's pilot episode on March, 27, 2005. His exit from the series leaves only three original cast members – Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey, Chandra Wilson as Miranda Bailey, and James Pickens Jr as Dr. Richard Webber.

New episodes of Grey's Anatomy air Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.