After 12 seasons playing Dr. Jackson Avery on the hit medical drama, Jesse Williams is leaving Grey’s Anatomy.
Avery’s departure from Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital was hinted at on the May 6 episode, “Look Up Child,” which saw the return of Sarah Drew as April Kepner, Jackson’s main relationship over the course of the show. Deadline confirms that this is part of a send-off for the character, which will culminate in the May 20 episode, Williams’s last, titled “Tradition.”
“Jesse Williams is an extraordinary artist and activist. Watching his evolution these past 11 years both on screen and off has been a true gift,” Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff said in a statement. “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.”
In the May 6 episode, April revealed she and her husband had split up, giving many fans of the couple known as “Japril” hope they could still end up together. The two characters share a daughter, Harriet. In the most recent season—which has dealt with current events, including the COVID-19 pandemic—Jackson has increasingly chafed against racial inequality in the health care system. It looks like he’s going to shift from practicing medicine to working toward making medicine more equitable through philanthropy and activism. Away from the hospital. Hence the exit.
“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. “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.”
Naturally, the fandom lost its dang mind at the reunion between Jackson and April.
If they split up again, heads will roll.