- ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” first aired in 2005 and the show is up to its 16th season.
- Over the past few years, many actors have parted ways with the medical drama, including Katherine Heigl, Sandra Oh, and Patrick Dempsey.
- Some stars, including Ellen Pompeo and Justin Chambers, are still on the series nearly 15 years later.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” has kept viewers hooked since 2005 – and it’s now about to debut its 16th season.
And over the past few years, the hit medical drama has had quite a few cast members come and go, with some actors staying on the series and others leaving to pursue other projects.
After over a decade, here’s what the original cast of “Grey’s Anatomy” is up to now.
Ellen Pompeo has made the iconic role of Meredith Grey her own.
The namesake of the show, Pompeo has played lead role Meredith Grey since episode one of the series.
Ellen Pompeo is one of the highest-paid television actresses today.
Pompeo has grown with the role – she started her own production company, has directed multiple “Grey’s” episodes, and was the highest-paid actress on a prime-time drama in 2018.
As Grey went on to marry her “McDreamy” and have three children with him, Pompeo found love in her personal life as well with husband Chris Ivery.Like Grey, she started her own family during the show’s run.
Pompeo remains the lead of the show.
Sandra Oh was a fan-favourite for 10 seasons.
The Canadian actress played razor-sharp surgeon Cristina Yang for 10 seasons, departing the show in 2014.
Sandra Oh went from cardiothoracic surgery to “Killing Eve.”
Oh was nominated for an Emmy for best lead actress in a drama series on “Killing Eve” in 2018 for her portrayal of the titular character Eve Polastri.
Patrick Dempsey broke fans’ hearts when he left the show in 2015.
Dempsey portrayed Derek Shepherd, the chief of neurosurgery, for 11 seasons on “Grey’s Anatomy.”
He left the show in 2015 and told People magazine both he and show creator Shonda Rhimes agreed it was his time to go.
“I’m very grateful for ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’” Dempsey told People. “It’s given me the opportunity to do everything. But at the same time, there was a cost.”
And by cost, he meant the gruelling filming schedule that kept him from his wife and three children.
Patrick Dempsey has starred on shows and in movies since.
Since starring as Derek Shepherd, Dempsey has appeared in the rom-com, “Bridget Jones’s Baby” and on the TV series “Devils.”
Katherine Heigl won an Emmy for her work on “Grey’s.”
Heigl won hearts early on in “Grey’s” as loveable and fierce Izzie Stevens, a surgeon who used to be a model.
Heigl was nominated for a supporting actress in a drama series Emmy for her work on “Grey’s Anatomy” in 2007 and won.
Katherine Heigl left “Grey’s Anatomy” and went to act on other shows.
The year after her Emmy win, Heigl removed herself from Emmy consideration, reportedly angering creatives behind “Grey’s Anatomy.” Heigl left the show in 2010.
“Everyone had been working really hard to find an amicable and gracious way of letting go and moving on,” Heigl told Entertainment Weekly at the time. “It’s sad but it’s what I wanted.”
The actress is married to Josh Kelley and they have three children together. Heigl later joined the show “Suits” in 2018 after Meghan Markle’s royal departure.
T.R. Knight was a loveable favourite as George O’Malley.
Another initial series regular, T.R. Knight played the friendly and able doctor George O’Malley. But he left during season five, reportedly due to issues with the creative direction of his character.
“My five-year experience proved to me that I could not trust any answer that was given,” Knight told CNN at the time. “And with respect, I’m going to leave it at that.”
T.R. Knight has since gotten married and starred in other projects.
Knight wed Patrick Leahy in 2013. He has since been on shows like “The Good Wife,” “The Catch,” and “Genius,” among other projects.
Justin Chambers plays rough-around-the-edges Alex Karev.
Another one of the original intern group, Justin Chambers plays pediatric surgeon Alex Karev.
Justin Chambers is one of the few original cast members who are still on the show.
He is one of the few to remain on the show for its 16-season run. Chambers is married to Keisha Chambers and they have five children.
And, his on-screen character Karev has also since gotten married to Jo Wilson.
Chandra Wilson plays tough Miranda Bailey, the teacher from the start.
Wilson plays the loveable and tough Miranda Bailey, who was the core group of interns’ resident back during the beginning of the show’s run.
Chandra Wilson still has a lead role on “Grey’s.”
Wilson was nominated for an Emmy for best supporting actress in a drama series for her role as Miranda Bailey in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.
Wilson has also appeared on “General Hospital.”
James Pickens Jr. will always be the “Chief” in many fans’ hearts.
Pickens Jr. plays the role of Richard Webber, a Grey-Sloan Memorial veteran who was romantically involved with Meredith Grey’s mother, Ellis, and is now married to Jackson Avery’s mother, Catherine.
James Pickens Jr. is still on “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Pickens Jr. is still currently on “Grey’s.” In 2018, he appeared on “The Conners.”
Kate Walsh joined the series at the end of season one.
Walsh showed up at the end of the first season of “Grey’s Anatomy” as OB-GYN Addison Montgomery, Derek Shepherd’s estranged wife.
Her initial role in the show was to serve as part of the love triangle between herself, Derek, and Grey.
Kate Walsh got a spin-off and has since acted on other series.
After a few seasons of “Grey’s,” Addison became such a show favourite that Walsh earned the spin-off medical drama “Private Practice.”
Walsh left “Grey’s Anatomy” for good during season three and the subsequent show “Private Practice” lasted for six seasons, from 2007 to 2013.
Walsh has since acted in other projects, most recently in Netflix’s teen drama “13 Reasons Why.”
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