LOS ANGELES, Sept. 8 (UPI) — Patrick Dempsey says he was more than ready to leave “Grey’s Anatomy.”
The 50-year-old actor, who played Dr. Derek Shepherd, aka ‘McDreamy,’ on the ABC series for 11 seasons, reflected on his departure from the popular medical drama in the Sept. 12 issue of People magazine.
“It had been long enough. It was time for me to move on with other things and other interests. I probably should have moved on a couple of years earlier. I stayed a bit longer than I should have,” Dempsey admitted.
“It was clear [series creator Shonda Rhimes and I] were both ready. But we kept it very quiet,” he revealed. “I knew [Derek] was going to [die], but I didn’t know how she was going to handle it. Shonda just said, ‘I’m going to do it in a really good way,’ and she did her thing.”
Fans were devastated when Derek died in the Season 11 finale, although Dempsey called the death “beautifully symbolic in many ways.” Season 12 saw the character’s longtime love, Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), struggle to overcome her grief.
“We miss him dearly, but yeah, the show is doing well,” Pompeo said on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in April. “I think a lot of people were really upset about his departure, which is super understandable, but I think change is part of the reason why the show goes on so long.”
“It’s more challenging for me. I’m more invested,” she revealed. “I have to work harder to find my groove without that missing part, so it keeps me more engaged. I’m more engaged [in Season 12] than I have been in a long time.”
Dempsey has since worked on the film “Bridget Jones‘s Baby,” which opens in theaters Sept. 16. He will also star on the new Cinemax crime series “Micronesian Blues.”