Shonda Rhimes Opens Up About Sara Ramirez’s Exit From ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ Says She Had A Different Plan For Callie

Shonda Rhimes, the creator of ABC’s hit drama Grey’s Anatomy, is opening up about Sara Ramirez’s shocking exit from the show she has starred in for the past 10 years.

The highly-anticipated Season 12 finale of Grey’s Anatomy aired last week, leaving fans in shock as Ramirez’s character Dr. Callie Torres prepares to move to New York to be with her girlfriend Penny (Samantha Sloyan) after a messy custody battle with her ex-wife Arizona Robins (Jessica Capshaw). Although there had been speculation that Sara may be ending her time on the show, it wasn’t until after the finale that Ramirez took to Twitter to announce her departure to her fans.

“I’m deeply grateful to have spent the last 10 years with my family at Grey’s Anatomy & ABC, but for now I’m taking some welcome time off,” Sara Ramirez wrote on Thursday. “Shonda’s been so incredible to work for, and we will definitely continue our conversations! I send my love to Ellen, the rest of the cast & crew, and I look forward to always being a part of the Shondaland family!”

Shonda Rhimes shared her own statement following Ramirez’s announcement, thanking her for the years she dedicated to Grey’s Anatomy.

“Dr. Callie Torres came into our lives dancing it out in her underwear almost a decade ago and I could not be happier or more proud of her journey,” Rhimes wrote in a tweet of her own. “Sara Ramirez’s performance inspired me as well as millions of fans each week. We wish her the best on her well-deserved time off. I will miss Callie tremendously, but am excited for what the future holds for Sara. She will always have a home at Shondaland.”

Now, Rhimes is opening up about Sara Ramirez’s departure and admits that it came as just as much of a shock to her as it did to her millions of fans. While attending the Vulture Festival in New York City on Sunday, Rhimes revealed that she only found out about Ramirez’s decision to leave “maybe three days” before the rest of the world, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“This one was interesting. It was different because it wasn’t a big, planned thing,” Rhimes explained. “I had a different plan going and when Sara came and said, ‘I really need to take this break,’ it was sort of lucky that we had shot the end of the season with her going to New York.”

“I felt really good that we had shot that ending and that she said she wanted to take this break and we were able to give it to her because I love the woman and I want to do everything for her,” Rhimes added. “It all worked out in that sense.”

Sara Ramirez is only one in a long line of actors/actresses to leave the long-running medical drama. Most recently, Patrick Dempsey, who played the character Dr. Derek Shepherd since the very first episode of Grey’s Anatomy, left at the end of Season 11. Dempsey’s departure left many fans very upset, with some of them vowing to never watch another episode.

“For Patrick, people make such a nasty deal of that whole thing and I’m like, ‘Why?'” Rhimes said. “I think people want a story on the outside that doesn’t have to do with anything on the inside. That was a lot of seasons.”

[Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP]