Grab the tissues, Grey’s fans, there’s another major departure headed your way. Last night, it was announced that Jesse Williams, who plays Jackson Avery on the show, will be leaving at the end of this season. His last episode will air on May 20. *cue millions of fans sobbing*
Jesse joined the show way back in season 6, which means there are only four other cast members who have been on the show longer than he has (Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson, James Pickens Jr., and Kevin McKidd).
“I will forever be grateful for the boundless opportunities provided me by Shonda, the network, studio, fellow castmates, our incredible crew, Krista, Ellen, and Debbie,” Williams said in a statement to Deadline. “As an actor, director, and person, I have been obscenely lucky to learn so much from so many, and I thank our beautiful fans, who breathe so much energy and appreciation into our shared worlds. The experience and endurance born of creating nearly 300 hours of leading global television is a gift I’ll carry always. I am immensely proud of our work, our impact, and to be moving forward with so many tools, opportunities, allies, and dear friends.”
While Jesse didn’t give a super-clear answer as to why he’s leaving, it seems like he simply wants to focus on other things. And let’s be real, 11 years is a long time to do anything. He’s directed episodes of Grey’s in the past, and he also just won an Oscar for producing Two Distant Strangers, a short film you can watch on Netflix. He’s also supposed to make his Broadway debut in 2022. He’s also set to star in an upcoming Amazon movie. So yeah, the man is trying to branch out!
“Jesse Williams is an extraordinary artist and activist. Watching his evolution these past 11 years both onscreen and off has been a true gift,” Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff said. “Jesse brings so much heart, such depth of care, and so much intelligence to his work. We will miss Jesse terribly and we will miss Jackson Avery—played to perfection for so many years.”
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