Patrick Dempsey Talks Shocking Grey's Anatomy Exit: "I'm Still Processing It"

Patrick Dempsey is opening up about his shocking Grey's Anatomy exit: "I'm still processing it," he says Credit: ABC/Adam Taylor

McDreamy has left the building. Grey's Anatomy fans were left shocked and upset on Thursday, April 23, when it was revealed that Dr. Derek Shepherd would never return to Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital. Patrick Dempsey opened up about the shocking twist (that car crash!) with Entertainment Weekly, in a story that leaked early to some subscribers.

"It just sort of evolved. It just kind of happened. It really was something that was kind of surprising that unfolded, and it just naturally came to be," Dempsey, 49, told the mag. "Which was pretty good. I like the way it has all played out."

He added: "Things happened very quickly, where we were like, 'Oh this is where it’s going to go.' It just sort of unfolded in a very organic way. I don’t remember the date. It was not in the fall. Maybe February or March. It happened very quickly."

So quickly, in fact, that Dempsey hasn't fully wrapped his head around leaving his costars. "I’m still processing it. This is part of the mourning process, the post-Grey’s experience," he told EW. "It was like any other day — just another work day. There was still too much going on. You’re in the midst of it, not really processing it."

Shepherd's death was a roller coaster, with him first saving four people from a deadly car accident. His luck quickly changed, however, when his own vehicle was hit by a truck. Dempsey said filming spread out "over almost three weeks" and the footage was filmed both in a studio and on location.

"I think any time an original cast member has left, there’s always a void that will never be filled," he said. "Shepherd is a beloved character. People don’t want to lose him. He’s been in their lives for over 10 years. But it goes on, and it will evolve."

Dempsey's life has certainly changed since joining the ABC drama in 2005. He admitted that women went crazy for him within a month of him slipping into his doctor's jacket, but he's also gained good friends along the way.

"It was magic. It’s beautiful," he tearfully said of Ellen Pompeo, his on-screen wife. "We’re like a married couple. It’s 10 years, and it was magic from the beginning. Chemistry right away."

As for what he took from set? Nothing. "I don’t need that. I have it inside," he told the mag. "I don’t need to have anything material to make me remember [my experience]."

Tell Us: What do you think of Dempsey's departure?