Grey’s Anatomy looks a lot less handsome these days.
And Jesse Williams is at last here to explain why.
About 10 months ago, fans of this beloved ABC drama learned that the actor was leaving the show after 12 years as the character of Jackson Avery.
Grey’s Anatomy executive producer/showrunner Krista Vernoff confirmed as much back then to Deadline.
“Jesse Williams is an extraordinary artist and activist. Watching his evolution these past 11 years both on screen and off has been a true gift,” Vernoff said in a statement in May 2021.
“Jesse brings so much heart, such depth of care, and so much intelligence to his work.
“We will miss Jesse terribly and we will miss Jackson Avery — played to perfection for so many years.”
Williams last appeared on the May 20, 2021 episode, during which Jackson decided to move to Boston in order to take over his family’s foundation
It took all this time later, though, for Williams to explain his departure in a bit of depth and detail.
Speaking to The New York Times this week, Williams said felt “increasingly safe, protected, insulated” on the Shonda Rhimes-created series.
“I knew that as I designed my exit, the next thing I did had to be terrifying,” he continued, addingg:
“I needed to get out of my comfort zone, I needed to go into a very unknown place.”
The muti-talented star previously directed episodes of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and also produced Two Distant Strangers, which won the Oscar for live-action short film in 2021.
Now, he’s all set to star in the upcoming Broadway revival of Take Me Out, a Tony winner about a baseball player who comes out as gay.
Williams will play the lead.
The production is quite a different sort of project for Williams, who was widely praised during his run on Grey’s Anatomy for how hard he worked and how closely he watched other actors in order to learn from them.
“There’s nobody that worked as hard as he did. Nobody,” former co-star Sarah Drew told E! News awhile back.
He’ll be working in a different realm for the foreseeable future, though.
“I’m here to do things I’ve never done before,” Williams told The New York Times.
“I have got one life, as far as I know. It’ll be fine.”
Issuing his own statement to Deadline last May, meanwhile, Williams said the following:
I will forever be grateful for the boundless opportunities provided me by Shonda, the network, studio, fellow castmates, our incredible crew, Krista, Ellen and Debbie.
As an actor, director and person, I have been obscenely lucky to learn so much from so many and I thank our beautiful fans, who breathe so much energy and appreciation into our shared worlds.
The experience and endurance born of creating nearly 300 hours of leading global television is a gift I’ll carry always.
I am immensely proud of our work, our impact and to be moving forward with so many tools, opportunities, allies and dear friends.”