Shonda Rhimes' Stance on Regé-Jean Page's Bridgerton Exit May Surprise You

Shonda Rhimes talked about the Bridgerton exit no one saw coming in Variety's annual Show Woman of the Year issue. See what she had to say.

By Jillian Fabiano Nov 03, 2021 6:45 PMTags
Watch: "Bridgerton" Stars Praise Shonda Rhimes & Dish on Series

Dearest readers, Regé-Jean Page may have been "really smart" in his decision to leave Bridgerton, according to Shonda Rhimes.

Regé-Jean broke hearts everywhere when he announced in April that he was leaving the Regency era drama. But as we continue to mourn the departure of our beloved Duke of Hastings, it may have been the right decision after all. In an interview with Variety, for their annual Show Woman of the Year issue, Shonda explained that although the series invited him back, he declined.

"Rightfully, he said, ‘I signed up to do this one lovely story, this closed-ended storyline. I'm good!'" Shonda recalled. "And I don't blame him for that. I think that he was really smart to leave the perfection as the perfection."

Well, it's hard to argue with perfection and no matter what, we still burn for you, Regé-Jean.

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If Regé-Jean hadn't left the show, Simon Basset and Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) may not have had the fairytale ending we've all grown attached to. "What I loved was we were going to create this powerful, exciting, amazing romance," Shonda said of season one's love story. "And then for once in television, they were going to get to have their happily ever after versus — well, you know! In network television, you have to come up with 15 years of why a couple has to be apart."

On second thought, maybe we should be counting our blessings that Regé-Jean left.

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for ELLE

And though we thought the Internet's response to Regé-Jean's departure from Bridgerton was valid, Shonda revealed that she did not expect that kind of response. "I don't think I expected everybody to have such a reaction to it," she admitted. "My assumption of what people knew of romance novels was... I overestimated a great deal."

Nonetheless, she understands where the fans are coming from, adding, "People's attachment to couples is real—I mean, I know that better than anybody," Rhimes explained. "And I think that means success. But I do understand their despair."

Though we shouldn't expect to see a return from Regé-Jean, Shonda assured fans that Bridgerton is nowhere near over, with Netflix renewing the show until season four, and much more to come. "There are eight Bridgerton siblings, and as far as I'm concerned, there are eight Bridgerton seasons. And maybe more."

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