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I Wasn’t the Same Person They Hired

Grey’s Anatomy star Eric Dane recently reflected on his 2012 departure from the popular medical drama. In a candid discussion on the Armchair Expert podcast, the actor told host Dax Shepard that he was “probably fired” after a six-year run on the show.

Eric, who played Dr. Mark Sloan, shared that he had been grappling with addiction issues at the time of his exit. He confessed that he was “messed up longer than I was sober” during his tenure on Grey’s Anatomy. Despite these struggles, he mentioned that his addiction wasn’t the direct reason for his departure, but it certainly didn’t help his situation.

“They didn’t let me go because of that, although it definitely didn’t help,” Dane said. He added that after significant time on a show, actors often become quite expensive for the network. “I was starting to become, as most of these actors who have spent significant time on a show, you start to become very expensive for the network. And the network knows that the show is going to do what it’s going to do irrespective of who they keep on it. As long as they have their Grey, they’re fine.”

Eric acknowledged that he had changed significantly from the person they initially hired, making his departure easier to understand. He praised series creator Shonda Rhimes for her support, both publicly and privately. “I wasn’t the same guy they had hired. So I had understood when I was let go. And Shonda [Rhimes] was really great. She protected us fiercely. She protected us publicly. She protected us privately. … But I was probably fired. It wasn’t ceremoniously like, ‘You’re fired,’ it was just like, ‘You’re not coming back.'”

Fans of the show recall that Dr. Mark Sloan, affectionately known as ‘McSteamy,’ met a tragic end at the beginning of season nine. His character succumbed to injuries sustained in a horrific plane crash, marking a heart-wrenching moment in the series.

After a nine-year hiatus, Eric made a brief return to Grey’s Anatomy in 2021. He reprised his role in a special episode where Meredith dreamt of reconnecting with loved ones she had lost. This episode featured a sweet reunion between Meredith and Mark, along with her sister Lexie Grey, played by Chyler Leigh.

“It was like I’d never left. It was a great day at the beach. It was great to see some of the familiar faces and same crew members, and we didn’t skip a beat,” Eric told Deadline about his cameo. “I love those people. I spent a significant portion of my life with those people, I’d do just about anything for them.”

Eric also noted that he remains on good terms with his former co-stars. “Well, I’ve maintained contact with a lot of the cast members. An answer somebody would give you, had they not, would’ve been I missed the people, but I’m still friends with all of them. So, there wasn’t really anything to miss.”

Source: Armchair Expert Podcast