Many were shocked and devastated last year when Patrick Dempsey‘s beloved character, Dr. Derek ‘McDreamy’ Shepherd, was suddenly killed off on Grey’s Anatomy.
Predictably, rumors flew about a feud between the actor and showrunner Shonda Rhimes, but it appears as though Dempsey’s sudden departure was much simpler than that.
In his latest interview with People, the Bridget Jones’s Baby star reveals that he and Rhimes came to the decision together, mutually agreeing it was just time for him to go.
“I think after a certain period of time, no matter how much money you make, you want control out of your own schedule,” he admitted. “It had been long enough. It was time for me to move on with other things and other interests. I probably should have moved on a couple of years earlier. I stayed a bit longer than I should have.”
Regarding the decision to kill off his character, Dempsey says he was kept in the dark, as was the rest of the cast.
“I knew he was going to be gone, but I didn’t know how she was going to handle it,” he explained. “Shonda just said, I’m going to do it in a really good way and she did her thing.”
“I thought it was really interesting,” he added of the McDreamy death. “It definitely woke people up. And it was beautifully symbolic in many ways.”