According to The Hollywood Reporter and in a shocking move, it has been reported that Jesse Williams is leaving Grey’s Anatomy.
The news broke after Thursday’s episode which saw the return of April Kepner played by Sarah Drew. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the show had Drew return to give way to Williams’ departure.
It is an understatement to say Williams and his beloved character, Jackson Avery, have been a staple of the show for years. His character made his first debut in season 6 as a recurring cast member. Jackson Avery, became a series regular the following year.
“I will forever be grateful for the boundless opportunities provided me by Shonda [Rhimes], the network, studio, fellow castmates, our incredible crew, Krista [Vernoff], Ellen [Pompeo] and Debbie [Allen],” said Williams in a statement. “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.”
“Jesse Williams is an extraordinary artist and activist,” said showrunner Krista Vernoff. Watching his evolution these past 11 years both on-screen and off has been a true gift. 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.”
Recently, Williams is the second major cast member to leave, following Giacomo Gianniotti. The actor re-upped his contract for two additional seasons during his previous contract renewals, committing to be involved in a limited capacity.