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Grey's Anatomy Mystery: Where the Heck Is Lexie?

Forget the uncertainty surrounding Derek and Meredith’s fractured relationship. To heck with Cristina and Owen’s baby drama. The storyline that really has Grey’s Anatomy fans buzzing this season involves Lexie Grey. Specifically: Where the hell is she?

As eagle-eyed Grey’s viewers have picked up on, Chyler Leigh has been largely MIA through the first three hours of the show’s eighth season. And she didn’t appear in previews for next week’s episode either.

So what’s going on?

A rep for the actress tells TVLine that Grey’s boss Shonda Rhimes granted Leigh’s request for an extended summer hiatus in order to spend more time with her family. (Leigh has three children, a son and two daughters, with actor-husband Nathan West.)

Leigh won’t be gone for long though. A Grey’s spokesperson tells TVLine that Lexie will be back full-time beginning with the Oct. 13 episode.

News of Leigh’s absence comes at a potentially critical time for the Grey’s vet. With the contract of her onscreen sister, Ellen Pompeo, up at season’s end, the Practice alum may soon find herself the “Grey” in Grey’s Anatomy. “I can represent the Grey,” Leigh told TVLine in June. “I’m not going anywhere!”