Grey's Anatomy is about to lose two of its main characters after Season 14.
Sarah Drew and Jessica Capshaw will be exiting the Shondaland drama when this season wraps up, Deadline reports. According to showrunner Krista Vernoff, their departures are the result of the show moving in a different creative direction.
"The characters of Arizona and April are permanently woven into the fabric of Grey's Anatomy thanks to the extraordinary work of Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew," Vernoff said in a statement. "As writers, our job is to follow the stories where they want to go and sometimes that means saying goodbye to characters we love. It has been a joy and a privilege to work with these phenomenally talented actresses."
Drew released her own statement about being let go from Grey's Anatomy, noting that the news came as a surprise to her. "Thank you for all of the love. I know you're sad. I'm sad too," she tweeted. "I haven't really had time to process this information. I've been with it for less than 48 hours, so I'm not ready to say all my thank you's and give an all-encompassing statement about my 9 years here."
Capshaw tweeted out her thoughts on her departure, writing, "For the past 10 years, I have had the rare privilege of not only playing Arizona Robbins but also being madly in love with playing her." She went on to explain the significance of the character and what playing Arizona has meant to her.
"She was one of the first members of the LGBTQ community to be represented in a series regular role on network television. Her impact on the world is permanent and forever," Capshaw added. "I am grateful that I have gotten to bring her to life and for the life that she has brought to me. I am sad to see her go but I am consoled by the idea that she will continue to live on and on in all of our consciences and our imaginations. Shonda, thank you for the ride on this incredible rollercoaster."
"It's always hard for me to say goodbye to any of my characters," she wrote. "Both Arizona Robbins and April Kepner are not only beloved but iconic — both the LBGTQ and devout Christian communities are underrepresented on TV. I will be forever grateful to both Jessica and Sarah for bringing these characters to life with such vibrant performance and for inspiring women around the globe. They will always be a part of our Shondaland family."
Arizona (Capshaw) first appeared in Season 5 as a surgery fellow in Seattle Grace pediatric surgery department before joining the series full-time. We first met April (Drew) in Season 6 as Lexie's partner in the newly merged Seattle Grace Mercy West Hosptial. Not long after, she was fired for an ER mishap and subsequently rehired by Derek Shepherd.
Fans have officially started a petition on Change.org in hopes of keeping both actresses on the show. Lyndsey Kleiman started the petition on Thursday and it has already reached over 19,000 signees with a goal of reaching 25,000 to send to Shonda Rhimes and executive producer Krista Vernoff.
See what others from the Grey's cast had to say about the bombshell news in the social media posts below.
Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8/7c on ABC.
1of2: Sarah and Jessica are easily among my very favorite people and coworkers, so this news fuckin sucks. Their immense talent speaks for itself but it's them as people that I'm so grateful to know, privileged to have worked with and learned from.— jesse Williams. (@iJesseWilliams) March 8, 2018
2of2: To say they'll be missed is a massive understatement. Luckily for all of us, we'll get to see these artists continue bringing compelling and complex characters to life for many moons to come! #OurWorkIsForever— jesse Williams. (@iJesseWilliams) March 8, 2018
Two of the kindest, most generous, talented women I've ever met... ❤️❤️❤️ https://t.co/g7fyr8NBeO— Camilla Luddington (@camilluddington) March 8, 2018