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Ellen Pompeo is thankful for all 19 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy.
The actress also known as Meredith Grey shared a sweet goodbye message on Instagram to fans after Grey’s Anatomy‘s fall finale last week marked her final official episode of the season.
“I am eternally grateful and humbled by the love and support you have all shown me, Meredith GREY and the show for 19 seasons!” wrote Pompeo, 53. “Through it all….none of it …would have been possible without the best fans in the world. You all are RIDERS and you all have made the ride so fun and ICONIC!!”
She added, “I love you madly and appreciate you right back.”
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Series creator Shonda Rhimes also shared a sentimental post about Pompeo on social media.
“What a wild ride these past 19 seasons have been. None of it could have been possible without the incomparable @ellenpompeo, the one and only Meredith Grey,” she shared on Instagram alongside a selfie of her with Pompeo.
She added, “In true #greysanatomy fashion…this isn’t a goodbye, it’s a see ya later! Can’t wait to see what’s in store for Ellen, Meredith and Grey Sloan Memorial.”
Pompeo stepped back from the series this season to pursue outside projects, including Hulu’s adaptation of the 2009 film Orphan, which follows a terrifying adoption story in which a couple’s new daughter turns out to be a grown woman masquerading as a child.
Meredith’s storyline (so far) ended with her character’s decision to leave Seattle for Boston, where she accepted a position with the Catherine Fox Foundation to research Alzheimer’s disease. There have been far more dramatic (and tragic) exits on the series — and Meredith’s new job certainly leaves the door open to guest appearances.
RELATED: Patrick Dempsey Wants to Work with Ellen Pompeo Again for One Simple Reason: ‘The Chemistry’
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Pompeo confirmed as much in the conclusion of her statement. “This isn’t your first time on the rollercoaster… you know the show must go on and I’ll definitely be back to visit,” she wrote. “With a lot of love and immense gratitude XoE 🙏🏼❤️”
Though Pompeo has been one of Grey’s anchors since its premiere in 2005, her decision to scale down her role on the series this year wasn’t entirely unexpected — the actress has long been candid about her attempts to convince ABC to end the series.
“I’ve been trying to focus on convincing everybody that it should end,” she told Insider in December 2021. “I feel like I’m the super naive one who keeps saying, ‘But what’s the story going to be, what story are we going to tell?'”
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Grey’s Anatomy returns Feb. 23 on ABC.