On June 11, the actor behind Dr. Meredith Grey got dinner with an old friend: Eric Dane, who you may recognize from Euphoria and, oh yeah, Grey’s Anatomy. Pompeo posted about their outing on Instagram stories when they were greeted by a very familiar-looking waiter.
Chambers abruptly announced his departure from the longtime medical drama in January 2020. “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,” Chambers told Deadline. “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.”
Despite the surprising news, Ellen Pompeo was nothing but supportive of her costar. On January 11, she reacted to the announcement by responding to a Vanity Fair tweet that read, “#GreysAnatomy is about to feel one of its biggest losses yet.”
“Truer words have never been spoken @VanityFair,” the actor wrote along with a broken heart emoji.
Alex’s fate wasn’t revealed until months later in an episode that didn’t include an appearance by Chambers. Through a series of letters, we learned that Karev did not actually leave to take care of his sick mother, as he had told Meredith and his wife, Jo (Camilla Luddington). Instead, he was actually reunited with his long-lost love and first wife, Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl). “I’m finally exactly where I should be. I never had that before,” Karev wrote.
Fans of the series…were less than impressed by this twist. “I’d honestly rather have Alex Karev die THAN have #GreysAnatomy ruin 16 seasons of character development to have him ghost everyone, and leave his wife for IZZY FUCKING STEVENS,” one of many tweeted at the time.
Allegedly, there was a reason Karev was kept alive. “The reason he wasn’t killed off is because Shonda Rhimes is leaving the door open for a return, in any capacity, if he wants to come back,” an alleged insider told Us Weekly.
Now that season 18 is officially a go, maybe we’ll still have a chance to see that happen.