Shonda Rhimes did not know about Sara Ramirez‘s desire to take a break from Grey’s Anatomy until three days before the finale aired.

Shonda Rhimes On Sara Ramirez Exit

Ramirez has played orthopedic surgeon Callie Torres on Grey’s Anatomy for 10 years, and was expected to continue playing her for at least the next season. However, Ramirez came to the conclusion after filming wrapped on the show’s 12th season that she needed to walk away from the hit ABC show. With Rhimes unaware of Ramirez’s plans, she didn’t have time to orchestrate a goodbye episode for Callie to wrap up her storyline.

“This one was different because it wasn’t a big planned thing,” Rhimes, who found out “maybe three days” before the announcement that Ramirez was leaving, said at the Vulture Festival in New York City. “I had a different plan going and when Sara came in and said, ‘I really need to take this break,’ I was lucky that we’d shot the end of the season with her going to New York.”

In the Season 12 finale of Grey’s, Callie’s ex-wife Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) decides to figuratively rip up the court’s custody decision over their daughter Sophia, giving Callie the opportunity to go to New York with her new girlfriend and bring Sophia there for part of the year. While Rhimes will have to rework that storyline slightly, at least there will be an explanation for Callie’s absence on the show when Grey’s returns in the fall.

“I felt really good that we had shot that ending and that she said she wanted to take this break and we were able to give it to her because I love the woman and I want to do everything for her,” Rhimes said. “It all worked out in that sense.”

Last Thursday, Ramirez took to Twitter with a statement announcing her decision to leave Grey’s Anatomy – at least for the time being.

“I’m deeply grateful to have spent the last 10 years with my family at Grey’s Anatomy and ABC, but for now, I’m taking some welcome time off,” Ramirez’s statement read. “Shonda’s been so incredible to work for, and we will definitely continue our conversations! I send my love to Ellen, the rest of the cast and crew, and I look forward to always being a part of the Shondaland family!”

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