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Grey's Anatomy, Patrick Dempsey

ABC/Kelsey McNeal

Patrick Dempsey is stepping back into the spotlight after his big Grey's Anatomy exit. The actor formerly known as Derek Shepherd is set to hit the big screen in Bridget Jones's Baby, but the ghost of McDreamy is still looming. Dempsey's character was famously killed off, leaving Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and Grey's viewers devastated, but Mer soldiered on. Dempsey said he's read some of the fan reactions, but wasn't fully prepared for the end.

"I knew it would be heavy like that. I didn't realize until we did our interview that it was really over," he told EW. "It started to dawn on me that this is coming to an end, which is why I think I was so moved by it. It was the first time I really stepped back and was starting to witness and to reflect on what had happened. That was the first time I was really saying goodbye to [Derek]. And I wasn't at all surprised with how people reacted."

After checking out the reactions, Dempsey said he was "pretty much done with it." "You know, I was ready to move on and then I was focused on racing. When everything started happening, I was out of the country anyway and I was racing, which was a good distraction," he said.

Still his very public exit got people talking.

While promoting her new book, The Year of Yes, Grey's creator Shonda Rhimes admitted to Larry Wilmore that she has killed off a character because she didn't like the actor. "Have you ever killed off a character because you didn't like the actor? And extra bonus points, who was it…Don't even think about lying," Wilmore asked the prolific creator.

"Yes, and I'm not naming names," she said.

When asked if he thought she was talking about him, Dempsey said he thinks Rhimes "loves being provocative and that's fine for who she is."

"That gets people talking about all the stuff that she's doing. She's an amazing woman who is incredibly productive. She's promoting a book. She's promoting three shows. And she's emerging as the star of all of these things," he said. "I think she knows how to deal with the media and what she needs to say to get the response that she's looking for. She's very savvy."

WWK, Grey's Anatomy Spoiler

ABC

Rhimes previously spoke out about killing off the character, saying it was necessary for the story to kill him off rather than have the character leave Meredith.

"Either Derek was going to walk out on Meredith, and leave her high and dry, and what was that going to mean? That was going to suggest that the love was not true, the thing we had said for 11 years was a lie and McDreamy wasn't McDreamy. For me, that was untenable. Meredith and Derek's love had to remain Meredith and Derek's love," she said at TCA. "As painful as it was for me as a storyteller, because I had never really thought that was going to happen, it preserved what felt true to me, was that Derek was going to have to die in order for that love to remain honest. Because I really couldn't have the idea that he just turned out to be a bad guy who walked out on his wife and kids be a true story. To me, it felt like that was the only way to make Meredith and Derek's magic remain true and forever frozen in time."