Fans have been shocked to learn that two Grey’s Anatomy cast members will be leaving the hit ABC show.
Producers made the decision for Jessica Capshaw, who plays Dr Arizona Robbins, and Sarah Drew, who portrays Dr April Kepne, will depart at the end of the current fourteenth season, The Hollywood Reporter announced.
Grey’s Anatomy creator/executive produced by Shonda Rhimes took to Twitter to explain the decision.
"It’s always hard for me to say goodbye to any of my characters," Rhimes wrote.
“Both Arizona Robbins and April Kepner are not only beloved but iconic -- both the LBGTQ and devout Christian communities are underrepresented on TV."
She added: "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."
As Deadline reports, show sources said the decision was based strictly on the creative direction of Grey’s Anatomy.
Both Capshaw and Drew shared a message with fans after the news broke, paying tribute to the show and its legacy.
"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. Arizona Robbins is kind, intelligent, funny, insightful, bold, playful, fierce and really good at her job," Capshaw wrote. "She was one of the first members of the LGBTQ community to be represented as a series-regular role on network television. Her impact on the world is permanent and forever."
Meanwhile, Drew told fans: "Thank you for all of the love. I know you're sad. I'm sad too. I haven't really had the time to process this information. I've been with it for less than 48 hours, so I'm not ready to say my thank yous and give an all encompassing statement about my nine years here. That will come later. For now, I'd like to say: I love you, and I love April, and her story isn't over yet."