Grey's Anatomy Boss Shonda Rhimes on the Death of McDreamy: 'The Decision Was Not a Difficult One'

Patrick Dempsey Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes has broken her (relative) silence about McDreamy-gate.

At the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Beverly Hills on Tuesday, the Grey’s Anatomy creator said the decision to part ways with Patrick Dempsey “wasn’t easy or fun,” adding that “discussions” like that are “never easy or fun… We’ve been working really hard for a long time together. We’re family. Those choices and decisions are never easy for us.”

On the flipside, the decision to have Derek “die the way that he did was not a difficult one,” Rhimes admitted, “in the sense of, ‘What were the options?’ Either Derek was going to walk out on Meredith, and leave her high and dry, and what was that going to mean? That was going to suggest that the love was not true, the thing we had said for 11 years was a lie. For me, that was untenable. Meredith and Derek’s love had to remain Meredith and Derek’s love. As painful as it was for me as a storyteller… Derek would have to die in order for that love to remain honest. That was the only way to make Meredith and Derek’s magic remain true.”

Earlier in the day, ABC president Paul Lee called Dempsey’s exit a “difficult decision,” before intimating that the parting of the ways was at least in part driven by Dempsey’s passion for race car driving, saying: “He has lots of interests outside [of Grey’s Anatomy].”