Why Chyler Leigh left (and returned) blockbuster medical drama

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Chyler Leigh played Lexie Gray in Grey’s Anatomy for several seasons before her character was killed. Why did the actor leave the series?

When Grey’s Anatomy kicked off its fourth season, the story has undergone some sort of reset. Meredith Gray and her fellow interns had now completed their first year of medical residency, which meant that a new group of early years had to take their place as they continued to hone their skills and stumble into chaotic romances. Lexie Gray (Chyler Leigh) was one of those new interns.

Equipped with a photographic memory and the same motivation that drove Meredith to excel in their common field, Lexie initially appeared to fans as too smart, too boring, and too childish. But Lexie has largely grown up with the audience, which made her unexpected death at the end of Season 8 even harder to swallow. Despite many questions over the years, it’s actually no secret why Leigh left the show.


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Who was Lexie Gray in Grey’s Anatomy?

Lexie first appeared on Grey’s Anatomy at the end of Season 3, joining the full-time cast in Season 4. Her first day as a surgical intern at Seattle Grace also revealed that she was, in fact, Meredith’s sister, although the two don’t have much to do with talking beyond their genetic connections. At first, many fans of the series could not find reasons to like it. But time and his iconic relationship with plastic surgeon Mark Sloan have drawn many to his uniqueness.

Because Lexie was away for part of Season 8, some initially suspected that she was left out of the series long before that happened. Although rumors of behind-the-scenes drama always accompany an actor’s departure from a series – especially when that actor’s character dies – Leigh was very open about her reasons for leaving, which likely reinforced her decision to make a brief comeback in the season. 17.


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Why did Chyler Leigh leave Grey’s Anatomy?

The “Gray” in the renowned Gray Hospital Sloan Memorial name actually refers to Lexie, as well as Mark Sloan, who were both victims of the Season 8 plane crash. Lexie caused emotional turmoil through the Grey’s fandom, even among those who didn’t like his character at first. Immediately, fans wanted to know why Leigh was probably leaving the show for good.

Leigh actually made the decision to go alone, saying TV line at the time: “Earlier this year, I made the decision that Season 8 would be my last. I met Shonda [Rhimes] and we worked together to give Lexie’s story a proper closure.


The end of her full-time job as Lexie Gray, however, was not the end of her acting career. Since his departure Grey’s Anatomy, Leigh went on to play Alex Danvers in both Super girl and Flash. In 2020, however, fans encountered a handful of surprise guests, including Leigh’s own Lexie.

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Why (and how) Lexie returned to Grey’s Anatomy

Meredith Gray spent the majority of Season 17 in a coma. To further develop her character and give her the opportunity to say goodbye to several people from her past, the series created a beach setting in her subconscious state where she could move around and interact with characters who were otherwise long dead. . Lexie’s return to Meredith’s “coma beach” wasn’t just meaningful to fans – it also meant a lot to the returning actors, including Leigh.


“It was a really interesting experience just because I had to film it here in Canada because you can’t go back and forth,” she said. People. “But to understand that there is a dynamic between Lexie and Meredith, then Lexie and Mark … Being a part of that was obviously very special. And being able to close the chapter for Lexie … It was a special experience to be able to be. part of that. “

New episodes of Grey’s Anatomy air Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC and can air the next day on Hulu.

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