Why is Jesse Williams leaving Grey’s Anatomy as Jackson Avery? When will he leave?

Grey's Anatomy: Sarah Drew returns as April Kepner in promo

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Grey’s Anatomy will be saying goodbye to one of its most esteemed doctors in May 2021 as Jackson Avery (played by Jesse Williams) will be checking out of the hospital. The news was revealed on Thursday, May 6, as his character’s former love interest, April (Sarah Drew) returned. Express.co.uk has all you need to know about why he is leaving the ABC medical drama. 

Why is Jesse Williams leaving Grey’s Anatomy? 

The main reason why the star is saying goodbye to the series is simply that his two-year contract runs out this season. 

This means he has chosen not to renew his contract, potentially so he can move on to new projects and explore new avenues in acting and directing. 

His last appearance will be in the May 20 episode, titled Tradition, and fans are keen to know how he will leave.

In his final moments, Jackson will move to Boston with April and their daughter, Harriet to take over the Avery Foundation.

The emotional episode will see Jackson resign from his post and say goodbye to Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital once and for all.

In a statement, he said: “I will forever be grateful for the boundless opportunities provided me by Shonda [Rhimes], the network, studio, fellow castmates, our incredible crew, Krista [Vernoff], Ellen [Pompeo] and Debbie [Allen].

“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.”

Fans have enjoyed watching the evolution of his character over the past 11 years. 

His colleagues said he brought so much love and intelligence to his work and he will be missed terribly.

The creators and writers of the series were reported to have chosen to bring his on-screen love interest back as part of an emotional farewell for the doctor.

The May 6 episode saw Jackson make the decision to take over his family’s foundation to fight against inequalities in medicine.

He joined the cast of Grey’s Anatomy in season six, along with co-star Drew, as a recurring character. 

Only a year later, he was bumped up to one of the main stars of the show. 

Williams nearly left the series at the end of season 15, but he ended up renewing his contract. 

Season 15 ended with a cliffhanger and fans were left wondering whether Jackson would return. 

Williams was due to make his Broadway debut in Take Me Out before the coronavirus pandemic, so he may be taking on more theatre roles in the future.

Fans have taken to Twitter to express their sadness over his departure, with one saying: “I’m not crying…gonna miss those eyes.”

Another said: “Why does Grey’s keep hurting us? The world has been through enough!”

 

He has been a fan-favourite for many years, with another viewer saying: “He is so beautiful I can barely breathe. My favorite character for so long.”

The 39-year-old American actor is a father-of-two, and he is also known for his role in The Cabin in the Woods. 

Besides acting, he is also a keen director, producer and activist, working on multiple projects. 

Fans predicted he may be leaving Grey’s Anatomy after the last episode, with one saying: “The writing was on the wall.”

Grey’s Anatomy airs on ABC

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