Ellen Pompeo's Last Episode of Grey's Anatomy Is Here: Other Stars Who Left Hit Shows in 2023

Ellen Pompeo's final appearance as a Grey's Anatomy series regular airs Feb. 23, adding to a list of stars who said goodbye to their longtime TV homes this year.

By Tierney Bricker Feb 23, 2023 11:00 AMTags
Watch: Grey's Anatomy Shares First Look at Ellen Pompeo's Goodbye

It's the end of an era. 

After 19 seasons, more than 400 episodes and countless voiceovers, Ellen Pompeo is scrubbing out of Grey's Anatomy as a series regular, making her final appearance in a full-time capacity in the ABC drama's Feb. 23 episode. Ahead of her send-off, Pompeo, who first began playing Meredith Grey in 2005, wrote a heartfelt message to her fans

"I am eternally grateful and humbled by the love and support you have all shown me, Meredith GREY and the show for 19 seasons," she wrote in a Nov. 17 Instagram post. "Through it all….none of it …would have been possible without the best fans in the world. You all are RIDERS and you all have made the ride so fun and ICONIC!!"

But Grey's Anatomy isn't the only show to see one of its original cast members leave this year, with All American, Bridgerton and Chicago Fire all handling the exits of fan-favorite characters.

Renewed and Canceled TV Shows 2023 Guide

So, cue up a Snow Patrol song and look back on all of the stars who have left TV shows in 2023 so far...

Ellen Pompeo, Grey's Anatomy

Fans of the ABC medical hit were feeling the blues when Ellen Pompeo announced that, after 19 seasons as the series' lead character, she would be appearing in her last episode as a full-time cast member in the Feb. 23 episode.

Pompeo explained the reasoning behind her decision to scrub out during an appearance on The Drew Barrymore Show

"I gotta mix it up a little bit," she said. "I'm 53, my brain is like scrambled eggs. I gotta do something new. You can't do The New York Times crossword puzzle every single day."

Fortunately, viewers won't have to wait too long to see Meredith Grey again, with Pompeo confirming in a Nov. 14 Instagram post that she would "definitely be back to visit" in the future. 

Reneé Rapp, The Sex Lives of College Girls

The Sex Lives of College Girls fans were surprised when star Reneé Rapp confirmed in July that she's leaving the Max series in the midst of filming season three.

"College Girls moved me out to LA and introduced me to some of my favorite people. 2 and a half years later—it's given me y'all and this community," Rapp—who portrayed Essex College student Leighton Murray—wrote in a July 10 Instagram. "A lot of queer work gets belittled—but playing Leighton has changed me life. I love who I am 10x more than I did before knowing her. I hope she gave y'all a little bit of that too. She's such a tiny part of representation but even the tiny parts count. I wouldn't be half the person I am without her and y'all."

She added, "I love that bitch more than you know. I'm so excited for this season and I can't for you to see what we have coming for her and the girls." 

Ryan Seacrest, Live With Kelly and Ryan

After six seasons of co-hosting Live alongside Kelly Ripa, Ryan Seacrest announced on Feb. 16 that he is leaving the daytime talk show, calling it a "hard decision" and one that was "bittersweet."

As for who will step in to replace the American Idol emcee? Ripa's husband of 26 years Mark Consuelos—which means the show will aptly be renamed Live With Kelly and Mark in the future.

"Working alongside Kelly has been a dream job and one of the highlights of my career," Ryan said in a statement. "She has been an amazing partner, friend, and confidant, and although we will always be a part of each other's lives, I will miss our mornings together."

Taye Diggs, All American

After serving his five-year tenure as football coach and father figure Billy Baker, Taye Diggs exited the CW series in its fifth season. The Rent alum made his final appearance in the Feb. 13 episode, which saw his character die off-screen in a bus crash.

While Diggs said he was "having a great time" on All American, he started to get a "feeling" that it was time for him to move on in season four and he began having conversations with showrunner Nkechi Okoro Caroll about his departure.

"We'd been keeping in contact, so she had known, and we'd been talking," he explained to TV Line. "And we decided how to go about it, and storylines and whatnot, so it was all above board, and everyone was in the know."

However, Diggs did share that there is a "one hundred percent" chance that fans could see him return via flashbacks or dream sequences if it were solely up to him.

"I asked for it," he confirmed. "I don't know if it's going to happen, but I'm open to it."

Emma Mackey, Sex Education

School seems to be out forever for Emma Mackey, who revealed she will not be returning for a potential fifth season of the Netflix drama. 

When the RadioTimes asked her at the BAFTA Awards if she'd be back, Mackey, who plays Maeve Wiley, said, "Season five? I've just finished the fourth one last week!" She then added: "No, I don't think I'll be in Season five."

Phoebe Dynevor, Bridgerton

Phoebe Dynevor has put down her Lady Whistledown pamphlet—for now. The season one leading lady told Screen Rant Jan. 28, "Sadly not in season three. Potentially in the future. But season three, I'm just excited to watch as a viewer."

Nina Ali, The Real Housewives of Dubai

On Jan. 30, Nina Ali announced she's exiting the Bravo series after just one season. "It was an honor to be a part of the debut season of The Real Housewives of Dubai, and to help @bravotv bring this beloved franchise to the city I call home," the mother of three and businesswoman announced on Instagram. "I'm grateful to the network, Andy Cohen, and the team at Truly Original for welcoming me into this extended family and for embracing the diversity of riches Dubai has to offer."

Taylor Kinney, Chicago Fire

On Jan. 20, a source close to production for NBC's Chicago Fire told E! News that Taylor Kinney was taking a break from the series to deal with a personal matter.

Kathryn Dennis, Southern Charm

On Jan. 12, Kathryn Dennis confirmed she was exiting Bravo's Southern Charm after eight seasons. 

"What a wild ride it's been!" the 31-year-old told People in a statement. "Can you believe I was 21 when I first started filming Southern Charm, back in its first season? That was in 2013, and in the decade that followed, it's safe to say my life changed in ways I could never imagine."

"It hasn't always been easy," Kathryn continued, "but I'm so lucky to have had reality cameras there, capturing so many moments that I'll never forget (and a few, even, that I'd like to)."

Diana Jenkins, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

On Jan. 9, Diana Jenkins announced she's leaving The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills after just one season. "As so many of you know, Asher and I are expecting our second child later this year," she wrote in an Instagram post. "You also know that due to many factors, this pregnancy is considered high risk and I am on doctor-advised bed rest."

She continued, "To that end, I am not able to devote myself fully to filming the next season of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I would like to thank Bravo and Evolution for allowing me to focus on my pregnancy, and for their support and understanding. I promise to continue sharing my fertility journey with you."

Lisa Rinna, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

On Jan. 5, Lisa Rinna announced that she was leaving The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills after eight seasons. "This is the longest job I have held in my 35 year career and I am grateful to everyone at Bravo and all those involved in the series," Rinna said in a statement to E! News. "It has been a fun eight-year run and I am excited for what is to come!"

Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.

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