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October 18, 2021

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‘It Was An Organic, Collective Decision’

KEY POINTS

  • Jesse Williams broke his silence after his “Grey’s Anatomy” departure
  • He said they reached a “collective decision” after speaking with the showrunner
  • The actor is doing Broadway and a couple of movies after his exit

Jesse Williams has broken his silence amid his exit from “Grey’s Anatomy” after starring on the show as Dr. Jackson Avery for 12 years.

In an exclusive interview with the Hollywood Reporter Friday, the 39-year-old actor spoke candidly on how he ultimately decided to walk away from the hit ABC series. 

“This was an organic, collective decision; it wasn’t something I had to tell anybody,” he told the outlet about his departure from the show. He made it clear that he discussed things with showrunner Krista Vernoff and show creator Shonda Rhimes before reaching the decision.

“It was something we found and understood and were trying to honor it and do properly. It was a team effort throughout. It didn’t feel like any one of us coming to the other and having an outcome predetermined. We wrote something together and this is what it was,” he said, revealing that he helped write the final moments of his character in the series.

Williams also admitted that it was hard filming his final appearance in the medical drama with lead star Ellen Pompeo, who plays Meredith Grey, since they have gotten pretty close through the years that they worked together on the set. 

“It’s been pretty emotional. Our last scene together was very emotional as Jesse and Ellen as much as it was Jackson and Meredith. That’s my buddy and this is a new side for both of us. I haven’t always been an emotionally available person and this journey was increasingly emotional,” he was quoted as saying by the outlet. 

Prior to doing the interview, his exit was already confirmed earlier this month. Vernoff, who also serves as executive producer of the show, told Deadline that it has been a “true gift” to witness the actor’s evolution while portraying his iconic character for more than a decade. She also said that they will definitely miss seeing him on the set.

In his latest interview, Williams revealed that he is going to focus on Broadway and other projects after leaving “Grey’s Anatomy.” He is going to star as the lead in a play and he has also signed on to a couple of big screen projects.

Meanwhile, court documents obtained by Us Weekly in April revealed that Williams and his ex-wife, Aryn Drake-Lee, have been ordered to attend “high conflict” parenting classes amid their custody battle over their kids. The exes share two children, 7-year-old daughter Sadie and 5-year-old son Maceo.
Jesse Williams Jesse Williams’ estranged wife Aryn Drake-Lee wants more financial support for kids. Picture: The “Grey’s Anatomy” actor attending the Scholly Scholarship Summit in Chicago on Feb. 10, 2018. Photo: Getty Images/Jeff Schear