Viewers may not have seen Lexie's grisly Grey's Anatomy death coming, but actress Chyler Leigh says her exit from the series was a while in the making.
In fact, once Leigh made the decision to part ways with the series, she was able to work with Grey's creator Shonda Rhimes to wrap up Lexie's five-and-a-half years on the show in a manner she deemed appropriate.
"Earlier this year, I made the decision that Season Eight would be my last on Grey's Anatomy. I met with Shonda and we worked together to give Lexie's story appropriate closure," Leigh, 30, tells TVLine.com in a new statement, two weeks after her character perished in a plane crash on the show's season finale.
Remaining tight-lipped on her future TV plans, Leigh expressed appreciation to the fans who supported her during her years on the ABC medical drama. "My experience on Grey's Anatomy is something that I will treasure for the rest of my life," her statement continued. "I want to take this time to say thank you to the fans. Your unconditional love and support have made these last five years very special for me. I look forward to my next chapter and I hope you will continue to follow me on my journey."
Rhimes explained via Twitter after the May 17 finale that killing off Lexie "was not an easy decision. But it was a decision that Chyler and I came to together. We had a lot of thoughtful discussion about it and ultimately we both decided this was the right time for her character's journey to end."
Tell Us: Do you feel better about Lexie's death knowing Chyler Leigh wanted to leave?
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on Youtube!