Kelly McCreary to Exit Grey's Anatomy After 9 Seasons
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Grey's Anatomy is facing another high-profile exit as Kelly McCreary's Dr. Maggie Pierce is bidding farewell to Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.
PEOPLE has confirmed that McCreary will appear in her last episode as a series regular on April 13 but will return for additional episodes this season.
The actress, 41, shared her gratitude for the last nine seasons on Grey's in a heartfelt Instagram post.
She broke down some highlights from her time on the long-running medical drama, writing, "9 seasons, 200 episodes, scores of heroic surgeries, countless brave patients, dozens of delightful sister house scenes, 1 episode with my real-life sister, some loss and some grief, a few ghostly visitations from mothers, a handful of boyfriends, 2 gorgeous weddings, a bunch of drunken emotional breakdowns, 1 high-speed chase, several awkward dinner parties, 1 punch taken (1 punch thrown), at least 1 pratfall, buckets of tears, innumerable fits of laughter, all the medical jargon mastered, a slew of friends for life, myriad collaborators who grew me as an artist, 1 grateful heart and 1 massive THANK YOU. What a ride! ♥️🙏🏾"
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McCreary also reflected on playing Maggie Pierce, the half-sister of Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), since becoming a series regular in season 11.
"After nine seasons, I am saying goodbye to Maggie Pierce and her Grey Sloan family. It has been a tremendous honor to be a part of such a legendary television institution as Grey's Anatomy," she said in a statement. "I will always be grateful to Shonda Rhimes, Krista Vernoff and ABC for the opportunity, and to the incredible fans for their passionate support."
"To spend nine years exploring a character inside and out, while reaching a global audience with impactful stories, is a rare gift," she continued. "It has afforded me an opportunity to collaborate with, learn from, and be inspired by countless brilliant artists both in front of and behind the camera."
"Playing Maggie Pierce has been one of the true joys of my life and I leave with profound gratitude for every step of this journey. I am excited for this next chapter, and what the future holds."
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Vernoff, 51, also addressed McCreary's exit in a statement.
"Kelly McCreary is a writer's dream come true; brilliant, nuanced, thoughtful, and kind," she said. "We will deeply miss her and her beautifully crafted Dr. Maggie Pierce."
McCreary's departure comes as Maggie and her husband Winston (Anthony Hill) are at odds over prioritizing career over their personal lives on the medical drama after he changed specialties to protect their marriage.
McCreary informed producers of her desire to leave Grey's Anatomy to pursue other opportunities and allowed them to create a final storyline for the character in season 19, Deadline reports.
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McCreary is the latest departure from the ABC drama series.
Pompeo stepped back from Grey's Anatomy this season to pursue outside projects, including Orphan, which follows a terrifying adoption story in which a couple's new daughter turns out to be a grown woman masquerading as a child.
The actress, 53, opened up last December about her reduced role on ABC medical drama.
"I feel super happy, but listen the show has been incredible to me and I've loved a lot of the experience," she shared on The Drew Barrymore Show. "Listen it's just I gotta mix it up a little bit. I'm 53, my brain is like scrambled eggs ... I gotta do something new or I'm literally gonna turn into, like, [someone who] can't do the New York Times crossword puzzle every single day."
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Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.