Grey's Anatomy Shocking Exit Accidentally Revealed Early in Magazine: Shonda Rhimes Speaks Out

One of the biggest shockers in Grey's Anatomy history was accidentally revealed early Credit: Bob D'Amico/ABC

Grey’s Anatomy fans, grab the tissues! One of the biggest shockers to ever hit Seattle Grace Hospital was accidentally leaked early in an issue of Entertainment Weekly that hit mailboxes just a little too soon.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, some subscribers received its new issue on Thursday, April 23 — hours before the week’s episode was scheduled to air. Inside, the article revealed that one of the show's original stars will be saying goodbye for good.

Spoilers ahead! Seriously, we warned you!

As many have expected, Patrick Dempsey's Dr. Derek Shepherd is leaving Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and his coworkers behind after Thursday's episode, titled "How to Save a Life." The Fray song has always been the show's unofficial theme song — even since the Dr. Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl) and Dr. George O'Malley (T.R. Knight) glory days.

The new issue featured a photo of Dempsey with the headline: "The Doctor is…Out." EW quickly apologized for the mishap, but the damage had already been done. "We are surprised that an EW subscriber may have received their issue a day earlier than planned," the company said in a statement. "We always try our best to bring readers exclusive news first. We would like to apologize to fans of the show that learned the news ahead of time."

Dempsey, aka "McDreamy," has been the ABC drama's leading man since its pilot in 2005, and has appeared in more than 240 episodes in its last 11 seasons. Earlier this week, it was rumored that he would be exiting the series thanks to bad behavior.

"Patrick has been acting like a diva and has clashed with [creator Shonda Rhimes]. She suspended him for a while, and the word on set is that he isn’t coming back full time," a source told Page Six. "Given all the past problems with Katherine Heigl and Isaiah Washington, there is little tolerance on the show for troublesome talent." Dempsey's rep, however, told Us Weekly the story wasn't true.

UPDATE: Following the episode's East Coast airing, ABC and Shonda Rhimes released statements to Us Weekly responding to Dempsey's exit.

"After 11 seasons on Grey's Anatomy, Patrick Dempsey is moving on to pursue other interests," the network's release revealed. "Dr. Derek Shepherd is an iconic character and we’ve been proud to be the home of 'McDreamy' and the 'Mer/Der' love story. The devotion of Grey's fans throughout the years has been a testament to the creative mind of Shonda Rhimes and Dempsey's talent. 'McDreamy' will be greatly missed and we wish Patrick the very best in his future endeavors." 

Grey's creator Rhimes shared her emotional connection with the character and revealed what's next for the Seattle Grace crew.

"Derek Shepherd is and will always be an incredibly important character -- for Meredith, for me and for the fans," Rhimes said. "I absolutely never imagined saying goodbye to our 'McDreamy.' Patrick Dempsey's performance shaped Derek in a way that I know we both hope became a meaningful example -- happy, sad, romantic, painful and always true -- of what young women should demand from modern love. His loss will be felt by all. Now, Meredith and the entire Grey's Anatomy family are about to enter uncharted territory as we head into this new chapter of her life. The possibilities for what may come are endless. As Ellis Grey would say: the carousel never stops turning."