Grey’s Anatomy star and original cast member Sandra Oh has announced she will depart the long-running ABC medical drama at the conclusion of its tenth season.
Oh has played doctor Christina Yang since the series premiered in the spring of 2005. The role’s earned her five Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. In 2006, she won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress. The actress, whose contract is up at the end of the forthcoming, will pursue other projects.
“Creatively, I really feel like I gave it my all, and I feel ready to let her go,” the actress told The Hollywood Reporter exclusively. “It’s such an interesting thing to play a character for so long and to actually get the sense that she wants to be let go as well. [Cristina] wants to be let go, and I am ready to let her go. We have to start the process, story-wise, for the Grey’s writers to think of why she’s going to go.”
Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Shonda Rhimes says Oh’s exit won’t be addressed until the end of the season. “We have a story that we want to tell and we want to tell it really well, and that story isn’t about her leaving the show as much as it is Cristina Yang’s growth as a person and as a surgeon. Cristina Yang is not going to magically decide she wants babies, no.”
It is unknown if any of Oh’s co-stars will follow suit. The contracts of the remaining original stars, Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey, Justin Chambers, Chandra Wilson and James Pickens, Jr. are up at the end of season 10. ABC Entertainment president Paul Lee hinted during the Television Critics Association press tour that Rhimes would be prepared for departures should the situation arise.
Rhimes addressed the possibility of more exits during the same exclusive THR interview, stating she’s unaware of more departure. “Everybody has different factors that influence whether they want to stay or go, none of which is they don’t want to be there. Everybody really wants to be there. It’s a family at this point; everyone is very close-knit. Everybody who is there is somebody who is really happy to be there. Everybody has their different reasons. For Sandra, it was about her desire to stretch herself as actor. For everyone else, we’ll see. Everyone has different factors: people have families, some love the stability, some will not love the stability.”
Grey’s Anatomy returns Thursday, Sept. 26 on ABC for a two-hour premiere.