Grey's Anatomy Exclusive: Chyler Leigh Breaks Her Silence About Shocking Departure

Chyler Leigh Leaving Grey's AnatomyFollowing two weeks of radio silence, actress Chyler Leigh has come forth to clear the air about her shocking departure from Grey’s Anatomy, which killed off Lexie Grey in the Season 8 finale.

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“Earlier this year, I made the decision that Season 8 would be my last,” Leigh shares in an exclusive statement to TVLine. “I met with [series creator] Shonda [Rhimes] and we worked together to give Lexie’s story appropriate closure.”

Leigh, who joined Grey’s full-time in Season 4 after introducing us to Lexie at the close of Season 3, was partly MIA from the start of the show’s most recent season, after Rhimes granted her an extended summer hiatus to spend time with her family. (Leigh and husband Nathan West have three children, ages 8, 5-1/2 and 3.)

RELATED | Grey’s Boss Opens Up About Finale’s Two Big Exits: ‘It Made Me Sick, It Made Me Sad’

The night that the Grey’s finale aired, Rhimes went on Twitter to explain, among other things, that killing off Lexie “was not an easy decision. But it was a decision that Chyler and I came to together. We had a lot of thoughtful discussion about it and ultimately we both decided this was the right time for her character’s journey to end.”

Leigh’s full statement appears below; give it a read and share your new, illuminated thoughts on the actress — and Lexie’s — exit.

“Earlier this year, I made the decision that Season eight would be my last on “Grey’s Anatomy.” I met with Shonda and we worked together to give Lexie’s story appropriate closure. I am very lucky to have worked with this amazing cast and crew for five seasons. My experience on “Grey’s Anatomy” is something that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I want to take this time to say thank you to the fans. Your unconditional love and support have made these last five years very special for me. I look forward to my next chapter and I hope you will continue to follow me on my journey.”

Watch Spoiler Alert! for scoop and theories on the Grey’s spin-off’s big exit:

Comments (536)

  • I am with the first comments, I love Lexie! She was my favorite character! I will miss her! My daughter’s name is also Lexie! Will miss you Chyler and Lexie!

    Comment by Luz Maria Segura – June 4, 2012 03:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Folks, Chyler Leigh is heading to BROADWAY!! She did a planned exit from this series to take some time off with er family before her schedule heats up doing BROADWAY.

    Comment by Elaine – June 4, 2012 03:46 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • To be completely honest i don’t agree with Lexie’s departure being timely or having appropriate closure. If that was the case “Mark” should have said something prior to knowing Lexie was dying or Lexie shouldn’t have thrown that ball out there in the first place. I was taken by surprise so much I was hoping she was just knocked unconscious and that she was going to wake up in the new season.
    I’m glad to hear she wasn’t just killed off for no reason and that she kind of made that choice but more preparation could have been done since you had the advanced notice she was leaving.

    Comment by patrice – June 4, 2012 04:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I am a huge fan of Ms. Rhimes & every project she bless us with. Grey’s Anatomy was my favorite show until Scandal hit the scene ……please don’t kill anyone els off Grey’s Anatomy it took me so long to identify with the newbies once the original cast broke up.

    Comment by Monique – June 4, 2012 04:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Maybe you should put something like ‘Grey’s Anatomy Exclusive: Big interview after season 8 finale. SPOILER ALERT’ insted of ‘Chyler Leigh Breaks Her Silence About Shocking Departure’

    Comment by DAMN! – June 4, 2012 04:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Two weeks after the finale? Who are you kidding?

      Comment by Liz – June 7, 2012 06:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My niece and I were so upset, we were crying. Watching Grey’s every thursday was one of our bonding nights together, I loved the character of Lexie,. She was so fun to watch every week, I will miss the, mark and lexie hour.

    Comment by Cheryl G – June 4, 2012 04:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Oh, no! That’s too bad! We’ll miss you a lot Lexie. I did really like you and Mark as a couple. Good luck on any thing you take up to do later.

    Comment by Marybell – June 4, 2012 05:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I too was sad and oh surprised that Lexie died but her kids are way to important. She can always find work but kids are too precious to put on the back burner for a career. God Bless you Lexie.

    Comment by rose montiel – June 4, 2012 05:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m very sad to see Lexie go, I really think that they could of done so much more with her character. She just never seemed really happy, and she really deserved it. Lexie will be missed greatly

    Comment by Elissa Michels Hunter – June 4, 2012 06:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Did a similar thing not happen on ER when Robert Romano was crushed by a falling helicopter ? I wish these programs would write their own story lines. I LOVE this show but I really wish the writers would be a tad more creative… Other than that it’s always sad to see these characters go, it’s like losing a family member or close friend…

    Comment by Kirsten_leak95 – June 4, 2012 07:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

    Comment by Ishimaru – June 4, 2012 07:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Sad to c lexie die and cryed while watching it. But now ît a long wait to c what happens in the next season. Bring it on .

    Comment by Tanya Williams – June 4, 2012 08:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • They could’ve added her family to the show. lexie’s new love….. her husband. His kids would’ve fit right in. Izzy comes back long enough to turn the turn the clinic into a children’s hospital. Because of her daughter’s cancer. Then she surprises everyone with a secret child by alex. Who saves her daughter’s life. Amelia comes to the show to fill in for mcdreamy while his hand heals. Meredith has a baby boy. I just think it’s wrong to give meredith family and kill her off. Lexie should stay for the sake of her families future.What’s wrong with a smaller role? Disable children are the heart of medical science and reality. Derrick finishes the dream home and adds a golf course,then tennis court and it’s soon a favorite hang out for all the families. Christina becomes obsessed with fertility, trying to replace the baby she aborted as a way to hang on to Owen. The monster in-laws are missing too. Wedding bells for Jackson. Adell gets better and richard’s in troulbe!!!! Just like the days before he’s torn between two women. The drinking starts again. Mark struggles to find love…..the women are tired of his steamy ways. When he does she’s worse than he ever was. Like gabby and carlos. Teddie still loves Owen….. This is what i want to see. Sloan comes back as lil miss steamy making matters worse for mark. He’s suddenly seeing himself in the mirror and worried he’ll ruin sofie’s life. Change for the better..
    new ways to fight cancer, paralysis, obesity real life drama.

    Comment by Brenda Richter – June 4, 2012 09:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Appropriate closure my ass…

    Comment by Kerry – June 4, 2012 11:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Definitely a better actress and more graceful than the likes of Katherine Heigl!!

    Will miss her character.

    Comment by Priya – June 4, 2012 11:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think killing Lexie is a big mistake they can let transfer to another hospital and then she can come back when she need . but i have a nice idea why they will not make her die as a miracle and be a life again pleassssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssseee for Mark :(

    Comment by Ghadeer – June 5, 2012 01:07 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Get a life people, This is television, be it good tv at that but tv still the same. Everyone has their opinion be it in or out of the box. Enjoy the mindless time with television while you have it and stop being so critical of peoples opinions.

    Comment by S. – June 5, 2012 05:40 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • love Lexie, wish you the berst,I was sad to see you go, the ending was not expected,good luck

    Comment by yudi – June 5, 2012 07:21 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Whether you call it fired, let go, not picking up their contract option or letting them make a statement that it was their decision to soften the blow, I think Raver, Daly and Leigh were all sacked. The only difference is that Raver and Leigh apparently knew in advance and Daly did not.Leigh’s PR statement only makes things more suspect based on what she said a year ago on the red carpet at the Thirst Project. We will probably never know the entire true story but I wish they had not killed the character off. So many finales do this that it is not shocking anymore.

    Comment by S – June 5, 2012 08:33 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I truly feel that they should have never: “killed off”, Lexie….Due to: None of us, know what is going to happen, to/in/with, the show…”IF”, Mer/Der leave the show, it is pretty much over! (For me anyway) I just feel as if, no-one esp. a character as great as “Lexie” was, (Not counting that “SHE” was the “ONLY OTHER”: “GREY”, on the show/Unless: “SHONDA” has “ANOTHER” Hidden: “GREY”, lol..) should have never been: killed off. Plus, We never know in: “REAL LIFE”, what will happen nor, where life “might” lead us….I have a feeling that down the road, this will be a “huge regret” on all their part….I am sure that, “Lexie” had her reasons for leaving the show however, in this life we never know what “tomorrow” might bring….she had a “perfect role as Lexie”, plus the fact that she and Mark never go their happy ever after! (Of course, unless “SHONDA” kills Mark off and they have the funeral and bury them beside each other) I just feel you should “never” burn any bridges behind you, esp. in this type of job! Look at: “Izzy” still “trying” to make her way back into: “GREY’s”! I think when these job offer’s come in, for MoviesOther Show’s, some need to think twice about them….As we all know ONE movie does NOT last forever! I just think the option should have been left open for Lexie to: “maybe/maybe not”, one day return! As of now, there is “NO WAY” for her to return UNLESS of course we have another Deny situation! lol…However, I do with her Luck and Hope that She does find what she is looking for in life!

    Comment by kath – June 5, 2012 08:49 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • For me,as a fan, it is painful to see all those characters die and it makes it seem unreal, I cried so much this last season as it was my own sister that just died, and what about the rest? who’s next in line to die ?!

    Comment by mirabela – June 5, 2012 11:37 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Obviously we are all loving fans and will truly miss “Lexie” the heart of the show, but may I suggest the possibility of seeing her in a future episode in the same manner we saw the characters who had died and were in the episode when Meredith almost died/drowned? It truly is hard to imagine never seeing her again and I think it would be a great way for her fans to see closure between her and Mark… Something along the lines of him going into some type of depression and maybe her visiting him to say goodbye in a dream or something?

    Comment by Ariana – June 5, 2012 03:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • well i understand she wanted other things i really do but i feel killing her was excuse me by saying this was OVERKILL izzie left the show and she wasnt killed !!!!! i feel that the writers r killing off to many ppl and good ones at that there needs to b a little more happy endings yes it is a drama but we need happy to balance the sad that this show has too these writers better have merr get pregnant now and have it a girl so she can name it lexie i loved lexies character she was the family merr was denied growing up and now she has lost it and husband and adopted kid is not the same as blood family a love for a sister ……. just saying

    Comment by Jen Lancin Poulson – June 5, 2012 06:48 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • As an engineer I was frustrated that not one of the characters thought of digging under her to free her from the wreckage. I know that she would not have survived it because she had a crushed pelvis etc. but it would have been nice if someone had thought of it and tried it. Doctors are great and all but engineers are totally awesome!

    Comment by Nancy LaBelle – June 5, 2012 07:04 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I just wanted to say that she was a great character on the show and she brought a lot to it. She will be missed dearly and noone could replace her, but if she says it was time for her to move on, then that is her decision.

    Comment by Emily – June 5, 2012 11:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Chyler will be great in any way!!

    Comment by krystal_zhou (@krystal_zhou) – June 6, 2012 09:25 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • soy fan de hueso colorado de la serie lo unico q no m gusta es q cada remporada tienen q matar a algien deberian solo de cambiar de actor o actrices mas para la gente q no perdemos ningun capitulo gracias mexico df

    Comment by nadia jarquin – June 6, 2012 07:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The statement specifically asks fans to continue with her on the next part of her journey, as in career. So all of you insisting she left for family when it hasn’t even been alluded to in either statement are probably off. Chyler said she was willing to represent the Grey a few weeks before production on S8 began and then she mysteriously took five episodes off. She has never made it past thirteen episodes before, and stated as recently as early March that she loves being on the show. She is probably still under contract with ABC, Shonda said herself that she wants to work with her again, so I think she had to make the statement in their favor.

    Comment by Samantha – June 7, 2012 02:14 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Both Chyler Leigh and Kim Raver’s storylines have been pretty poor this year, all Lexie seemed to do all season was look distraught or longingly in Mark’s direction, hardly worth signing on for a new season, and once Teddy’s reaction over her husbands death was done she had no further storyline, again not really something an actor wants to sign on for. I do think it was a shame the Lexie character couldn’t have moved to another hospital, giving Chyler an option to come back in future, or at least giving her more of the finale episode to really give her a better send off than 5mins screen time and giving the fans a more deserving reward than I think we were given. But I will watch out for both Chyler and Kim in other projects as both have shown themselves to be stand out actors.

    Comment by Nicola – June 7, 2012 06:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • All of the statements made by Shonda and Chyler over the last year just don’t add up. The latest sounding like PR written drivel. As I’ve often found with Greys they get us all worked up about whats coming and then it is never quit as terrible as our imaginations have built up. Like the “who will fail the boards” doom doom dooooom. Then it was the spaz. I’m thinking “eh who cares”. I still stand by my opinion that Shonda was so wrapped up in launching Scandel, and didn’t know the status of Dempsey (there never seemed to be a question about the others) so she just slapped some open ended crap on paper and called it good. She did Grey’s a disservice. The end of the premiere will be oh it was just a dream Christina was having. Didn’t watch Lost, so I could be wrong here. But the whole episode just seemed like plagiarism.

    Comment by Marin – June 7, 2012 08:40 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Not buying this at all. Think about it. If both these ladies’ goal was to “give Lexie’s story appropriate closure”, then things would have ended dramatically different. This story is fishier than the tools at Shondra’s gyno’s office.

    Comment by Starlit Jones – June 7, 2012 12:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I did not the fact that Lexie had to die…Chyler is such a gifted actress !

    Comment by Maria Ofélia Henriques – June 8, 2012 07:11 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • No es justo!!! yo tenía tantas esperanzas que la resucitaran!!!! lloré la muerte de Lexie y no me conformo que haya terminado así…. no me gustó!!!! :(

    Comment by MIMCHA – June 8, 2012 05:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I didn’t like the Lexie character and am glad she is dead.

    Comment by Ann – June 12, 2012 01:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • She didn’t like you either

      Comment by Dale Hercules – June 12, 2012 03:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • no me parecio que la ayan matado su personaje era uno de los mejores espero que lae vaya bien sus proximos trabajos

    Comment by sofinuxs – June 16, 2012 07:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Lexie was so lively, funny, sweet and endearing….it’ll be hard seeing Seattle Grace Mercy West hospital without her around. Her character’s closure was too sudden for my liking.

    Comment by proy – June 18, 2012 02:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I think you seem to be forgetting closure hasn’t happened yet. I expect a funeral in the first 2 episodes of the new season and that will give me closure despite the death already. I know that sounds weird but to me that is how it will happen

      Comment by greysfan – June 19, 2012 03:36 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Lexie will never be replaced. Not ever.

      Comment by Dale Hercules – June 19, 2012 08:05 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Lexie was my favorite caracter…but after this ridiculous interview I’m kinda glad she left the show…and remember,she was only little Grey…we still have Mer.

    Comment by Juliana (brazil) – June 18, 2012 05:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • If it came down between Meridith and Lexie, I would rather have Lexie continue. Maybe Merideth will have an Izzie moment and halucinate that see s & talks to Lexie!.

    Comment by a p garcia – June 20, 2012 05:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I understand Chyler wanted to leave the show and I’m okay with that, I just wish Lexie hadn’t died to do it. I don’t feel like that gave me or her character any closer…Just an ending. Lexie and Mark were the only reason I still semi-watched the show… With her gone, I’m done. I would have preferred Merideth or Derek to die over Lexie… Heck… Kill them all off…I don’t have a reason to watch anymore. Just like when Pete got with Violet… It killed Private Practice for me….stopped watching it too. I’m think I am done with anything Shonda does… At least for now.

    Good luck to Chyler with her family and future roles :)

    Comment by Cari Carter (@CaRiNeSs19) – June 24, 2012 07:55 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Agreed. Meredith has been whining for 9 years now, and *she* gets to stay.

      Comment by Jill – October 7, 2012 05:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I don’t agree with Lexie living the series. The relation between her and Mark was the main reason why I follow the show. It’s not going to be the same thing anymore. You’re going to loose fans.

    Comment by Ana Miranda – June 26, 2012 01:20 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • she won’t have a ‘next chapter’. another actor who hit the jackpot, got too big for her boots and now thinks she’ll be a movie star.

    Comment by Ian – June 30, 2012 01:44 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I loved lexie grey je suis tres triste quelle soit partie comme sa (mort) elle aurait fait un beau couple avec marc pauvre lexie

    Comment by john – July 18, 2012 11:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I would have preferred it if Mark and Lexie ended up together, but I still don’t think the ending was badly written. At least it wasn’t left with M/L not admitting their true feelings. I respect Chyler’s decision to spend more time with her family, as it is completely understandable, while I am sad about Lexie’s death. Still, I am wondering what they’re going to do with Mark, as Eric Dane has said he’s leaving the show…

    Comment by Johanna – July 26, 2012 03:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Hi I am a big fan of Lexie and Mark. I cant believe they killed lexie but they are killing mark 2. What the HE DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS

    Comment by Jenna – August 15, 2012 09:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think it was a stupid move because even though I’m extremely mad that she left at least they could of kept her alive like Teddy. In further seasons Teddy can return like Addison has times before she vague appearances or at least be in one episode in the future. But Chyler can’t she’s DEAD and can never come back and it truly sucks cause upon it all freaken Marks leaving to. Man I hate when like the BEST characters leave I loved Greys because of Lexie and no lie i only watched from season 4 up. I haven’t seen season 1-3.

    Comment by Isaiah Miranda – August 25, 2012 03:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Just want to say, you will be miss. Omg I wasn’t expecting your death. It was so up setting, That I couldn’t stop crying. I wish you an ur family the best . Hope to seeing soon in an other show. Wow !!! It’s Guna be hard to not see you in Grey’s.Good Luck!!!

    Comment by Tracy bernal – September 9, 2012 02:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love Lexie, and I appreciate that Chyler wanted to move on now. That doesn’t make me angry or sad or whatever anymore. It will be a hard show to watch now, since she was my absolute favorite character…

    I think what gets me, looking back at this article, is where they both talk about “appropriate closure.” Her death was the appropriate closure? Really? How about she gets an amazing offer for residency somewhere and moves? Haha

    Comment by DoctorWhoFanatic! – September 13, 2012 06:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

    Comment by TRUTHSAYERS – September 27, 2012 09:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So who is the Dr. that Owen went and asked to come back? And why ask someone to come back if they’re trying to trim their budget and got rid of 3 beloved characters?

    Comment by Kimberley – September 27, 2012 11:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The Season 8 finale was horrible. Not only am I super sad over the loss of Lexie’s character, I am super ill with Shonda’s plot choices. First of all, this series has had *entirely* too many deaths, and “near-deaths”. It really detracts from the show’s credibility. Everyone realizes that it is clearly just a TV show; however, in a show with such strong character development (that’s able to keep you excited and entertained for 8 years of your life) you get strangely close to the characters. They almost seem like old friends. *No* one has that many tragedies in one “5 year” period. Every single character on the show has died or almost died. George’s departure was really sad, and I still don’t really understand why Izzie vanished. And don’t forget George’s dad. Then we have half of the hospital shot up by the gunman. Now, this past season we had already lost Henry and Arizona’s friend. Then they decide to just dispose of about 1/3 of the cast during the Season 8 finale. Horrible. Teddy, Mark, Lexie, Arizona… Finally, *no* one would have survived that plane crash, let alone over half of the people on the plane. That was just way too far-fetched..

    Comment by Jill – October 7, 2012 05:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Oh, I almost forgot…they even led us to believe that April (who no one even likes) and Alex would be leaving as well. It was a very discouraging Season 8 finale, and an even more discouraging Season 9 premiere. I kept hoping that it was a dream.

      Comment by Jill – October 7, 2012 05:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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