In a shocking turn, Grey’s Anatomy regulars Jessica Capshaw (Dr. Arizona Robbins) and Sarah Drew (Dr. April Kepner) are exiting ABC‘s Golden Globe-winning series after the 14th season. The stars have been with the show for 10 and nine seasons, respectively.
On Twitter, Drew, who was still processing the news, told fans: “I know you’re sad. I’m sad, too. I haven’t really had time to process the information. 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. That will come later.”
The actress continued by saying: “For now, I’d like to say: I love you April and her story isn’t over yet. And the really good news (for me at least), is that I’m here on set shadowing one of my favorite people, Kevin McKidd, with my beloved Grey’s family all this week and next, so I get to process my feelings surrounded by the community that has nourished and nurtured me for almost a decade. For that I am grateful.”
Capshaw also spoke out about the announcement: “For the past ten years I have had the rare privilege of not only playing Arizona Robbins, but also being madly in love with playing her. Arizona Robbins is kind, intelligent, funny, insightful, bold, playful, fierce and really good at her job. She was one of the first members of the LGBTQ community to be represented in a series regular role on network television. Her impact on the world is forever. Forever.”
The Grey’s Anatomy star added: “I am grateful that I have gotten to bring her to life and for the life that she has brought to me. I am so sad to see her go, but I am consoled by the idea that she will continue to live on and on in all our consciences and imaginations. Shonda, thank you for the ride on this incredible rollercoaster. With a heart full of love, Jessica.”
The decision was reportedly made by the producers ahead of the potential 15th season (the show has not been officially renewed yet). Co-showrunner and executive producer Krista Vernoff said that the characters of Arizona and April are “permanently woven into the fabric” of the show and that it has been “a joy and a privilege to work with these phenomenally talented actresses.”
Creator and executive producer Shonda Rhimes also spoke out about the exits saying that it’s “always hard for me to say goodbye to my characters. Both Arizona Robbins and April Kepner are not only beloved but iconic — both the LGBTQ and devout Christian communities are underrepresented on TV. I will be forever grateful to both Jessica and Sarah for bringing these characters to life with such vibrant performance and for inspiring women around the globe. They will always be a part of our Shondaland family.”
The departures of Capshaw and Drew follow the signing of series star Ellen Pompeo to a new two-year lucrative deal that will keep her with the drama franchise and pay her as much as $20 million per season. Last year, Rhimes signed an overall deal with Netflix worth $100 million, which takes her away from ABC Studios who produces Grey’s Anatomy.