Justin Chambers has been a series regular on ABC’s hit drama Grey’s Anatomy since the show first premiered in 2005. For 15 seasons, he’s played Dr. Alex Karev alongside Ellen Pompeo’s Dr. Meredith Grey, but on January 10, he announced that the current 16th season will be his last.
In a statement to Deadline, the actor, who will turn 50 this summer said, “There’s no good time to say goodbye to a show and character that’s defined so much of my life for the past 15 years. For some time now, however, I have hoped to diversify my acting roles and career choices. And, as I turn 50 and am blessed with my remarkable, supportive wife and five wonderful children, now is that time.”
Chambers, who’s been married to wife Keisha Chambers since 1993, and with whom he shares five kids, Isabella, Eva, Maya, Jackson, and Kaila, has seen hundreds of characters come and go on Grey’s Anatomy. Aside from Pompeo, the only other character with a tenure as long as Dr. Karev’s is James Pickens Jr., who plays Dr. Richard Webber on Shonda Rhimes’ primetime drama.
“As I move on from Grey’s Anatomy, I want to thank the ABC family, Shonda Rimes, original cast members Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson and James Pickens, and the rest of the amazing cast and crew, both past and present, and, of course, the fans for an extraordinary ride,” he said.
Viewers got to know Dr. Karev while he was in an intern at Seattle Grace. Over the past 15 seasons, his character has been married twice, reconnected with his formerly estranged mother, and after being fired for assisting Dr. Grey in her insurance fraud case, he now works as Chief of Staff & Surgery at the struggling Pacific Northwest General Hospital.
As reported by E! News, Chambers’ Dr. Karev, who was last seen in episode 350, which aired on November 14, 2019, was hist last. During that episode, Karev went to go help take care of his mother while his wife, Dr. Jo Karev (Camilla Luddington) returned to work at the hospital.
Viewers will have to wait and see how his character is written out of the show, an interesting feat considering Dr. Karev won’t physically be present in any of the explanatory scenes.
Chambers Wasn’t Able To Work On A Lot Of Other Film Or TV Projects While On ‘Grey’s Anatomy’
Before joining Grey’s Anatomy, Chambers appeared as the loving Massimo alongside Jennifer Lopez in the hit romantic comedy, The Wedding Planner, and starred as D’Artagnan in The Musketeer. The last leading role in a movie he had before joining Shondaland’s hit series was in the thriller, The Zodiac.
While having steady work in Hollywood is the greatest gift an actor can have, after almost 16 seasons on Grey’s, he’s built up enough income to ensure all five of his children go off to any college of their choice. Chambers likely doesn’t have to work another day in his life, however, he’s such a talented and versatile actor, he’s likely been wanting to branch out from his scrubs for a long time.
It will be exciting to see what projects Chambers does next, but that didn’t quite lessen the blow of learning that Grey’s would now be without Karev, a fan-favorite character. Chambers’ exit marks the end of an era on the long-running series.