Published On: Fri, May 7th, 2021

Jesse Williams to exit Grey’s Anatomy in the May 20th episode after 12 seasons on ABC medical drama

After 12 seasons on Grey’s Anatomy, ABC announced Thursday that Jesse Williams will make his final appearance as Dr. Jackson Avery in the May 20th episode – titled ‘Tradition.’

The Chicago-born 40-year-old originally joined the hit medical drama in the sixth season as Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital’s chief of plastic surgery.

‘I will forever be grateful for the boundless opportunities provided me by Shonda [Rimes], the network, studio, fellow castmates, our incredible crew, Krista [Vernoff], Ellen [Pompeo], and Debbie [Reynolds],’ Jesse said in a statement to People.  

Exiting: After 12 seasons on Grey’s Anatomy, ABC announced Thursday that Jesse Williams (L) will make his final appearance as Dr. Jackson Avery in the May 20th episode – titled ‘Tradition’

Ensemble: The Chicago-born 40-year-old (2-R) originally joined the hit medical drama in the sixth season as Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital's chief of plastic surgery

Ensemble: The Chicago-born 40-year-old (2-R) originally joined the hit medical drama in the sixth season as Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital’s chief of plastic surgery

‘As an actor, director and person, I have been obscenely lucky to learn so much from so many and I thank our beautiful fans, who breathe so much energy and appreciation into our shared worlds.

‘The experience and endurance born of creating nearly 300 hours of leading global television is a gift I’ll carry always. I am immensely proud of our work, our impact and to be moving forward with so many tools, opportunities, allies and dear friends.’

Williams was trending on Twitter after Thursday’s episode, which saw the return of Jackson’s ex-wife April Kepner (Sarah Drew) and estranged father Robert (Eric Roberts). 

Jesse (pictured Thursday) said in a statement to People: 'I will forever be grateful for the boundless opportunities provided me by Shonda [Rimes], the network, studio, fellow castmates, our incredible crew, Krista [Vernoff], Ellen [Pompeo], and Debbie [Reynolds]'

Jesse (pictured Thursday) said in a statement to People: ‘I will forever be grateful for the boundless opportunities provided me by Shonda [Rimes], the network, studio, fellow castmates, our incredible crew, Krista [Vernoff], Ellen [Pompeo], and Debbie [Reynolds]’

Williams continued: 'As an actor, director and person, I have been obscenely lucky to learn so much from so many and I thank our beautiful fans, who breathe so much energy and appreciation into our shared worlds'

He added: 'The experience and endurance born of creating nearly 300 hours of leading global television is a gift I'll carry always. I am immensely proud of our work, our impact and to be moving forward with so many tools, opportunities, allies and dear friends'

Williams continued: ‘The experience and endurance born of creating nearly 300 hours of leading global television is a gift I’ll carry always. I am immensely proud of our work, our impact and to be moving forward with so many tools, opportunities, allies and dear friends’

'Look Up Child': The Little Fires Everywhere actor was trending on Twitter after Thursday's episode, which saw the return of Jackson's ex-wife April Kepner (Sarah Drew) and estranged father Robert (L, Eric Roberts)

‘Look Up Child’: The Little Fires Everywhere actor was trending on Twitter after Thursday’s episode, which saw the return of Jackson’s ex-wife April Kepner (Sarah Drew) and estranged father Robert (L, Eric Roberts)

The Little Fires Everywhere actor – who directed three episodes of Grey’s Anatomy – will next helm the May 27th episode (titled ‘Race’) of ABC’s Erin Brockovich-inspired drama Rebel.

Jesse also served as one of the producers on Netflix’s Two Distant Strangers, which just won the Oscar for best live-action short film on April 25.

Williams’ exit from Grey’s Anatomy came a month after a judge ordered he and ex-wife Aryn Drake-Lee attend a ‘high conflict’ parenting course amid their bitter custody battle.

'Race': Jesse (R, pictured April 22) - who directed three episodes of Grey's Anatomy - will next helm the May 27th episode of ABC's Erin Brockovich-inspired drama Rebel

‘Race’: Jesse (R, pictured April 22) – who directed three episodes of Grey’s Anatomy – will next helm the May 27th episode of ABC’s Erin Brockovich-inspired drama Rebel

Next level: Williams also served as one of the producers on Netflix's Two Distant Strangers, which just won the Oscar for best live-action short film on April 25

Next level: Williams also served as one of the producers on Netflix’s Two Distant Strangers, which just won the Oscar for best live-action short film on April 25

TMZ reported that the NBA 2K21 star and the real estate broker haven’t been able to agree on custody and visitation rights for their daughter Sadie, 7; and son Maceo, 5.

Jesse and Aryn finalized the rest of the details of the end of their five-year marriage on October 15 – three years after legally separating.

Williams got to keep the $936,810 he earned on Grey’s Anatomy since their separation while Drake-Lee got to keep their houses in Los Angeles, Oakland, and Brooklyn. 

Focus more on family: The NBA 2K21 star's exit from Grey's Anatomy came a month after a judge ordered he and ex-wife Aryn Drake-Lee (L, pictured in 2016) attend a 'high conflict' parenting course amid their bitter custody battle

Focus more on family: The NBA 2K21 star’s exit from Grey’s Anatomy came a month after a judge ordered he and ex-wife Aryn Drake-Lee (L, pictured in 2016) attend a ‘high conflict’ parenting course amid their bitter custody battle

Finalized divorce on October 15: Jesse and the real estate broker haven't been able to agree on custody and visitation rights for their son Maceo, 5; and daughter Sadie, 7 (pictured in 2017)

Finalized divorce on October 15: Jesse and the real estate broker haven’t been able to agree on custody and visitation rights for their son Maceo, 5; and daughter Sadie, 7 (pictured in 2017)

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