Warning: Major Grey’s Anatomy spoilers ahead.
Grey’s Anatomy fans were shocked earlier this year when it was announced that Justin Chambers, one of the show’s original cast members, would be leaving his role in the middle of the current season. In fact, once we learned the news, his final episode had already aired.
“There’s no good time to say goodbye to a show and character that’s defined so much of my life for the past 15 years,” Chambers (a.k.a Alex Karev) said. “For some time now, however, I have hoped to diversify my acting roles and career choices. And, as I turn 50 and am blessed with my remarkable, supportive wife and five wonderful children, now is that time.”
What would become of Alex Karev? How would the show handle a pivotal character’s seemingly sudden departure? Of the original group of surgical interns we first met back in 2005, only Karev and Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) remained—along with two of their mentors, Dr. Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) and Dr. Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr.). This being Grey’s Anatomy, really any plot twist was on the table, including an offscreen death, which many fans feared.
But Grey’s had a happier ending in mind, or at least some longtime fans will see it that way. We learned last week that Karev was not actually taking care of his sick mother, as he had told Meredith and his wife, Jo (Camilla Luddington). Nope, he was actually reunited with none other than his long lost love and first wife, Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl).
We learned all of this by way of letters Karev sent to Meredith, Bailey, and Jo. He revealed that he called Izzie when he was rallying the troops to help save Meredith’s medical license earlier this season. (After surviving cancer, Izzie left Alex heartbroken and ran off to parts unknown in season six. He eventually married Jo.) They got to talking, and Izzie told him she had used the embryos they created during her cancer battle and given birth to twins, Eli and Alexis. The couple rekindled their relationship and he moved to Kansas to be with Izzie and raise their children. ‘I’m finally exactly where I should be. I never had that before,” Karev wrote, talking about giving his children the stable childhood and family he never had.