Then: Izzie Stevens, Seattle Grace’s most idealist resident, who is saddled with a complicated love life (though then again, whose love life isn’t complicated in Grey’s?) and a tragic illness. Izzie leaves the series in its sixth season to start afresh after a painful breakup.
Now: An undisputed queen of rom-com. Heigl has starred in popular films such as The Big Wedding, The Ugly Truth, 27 Dresses, and Knocked Up. But she’ll be back on your small screens soon - as the main character on the series Doubt, the story of a defence lawyer who gets romantically involved with one of her clients. We can’t wait to see how that goes down.
Then: Derek Christopher Shepherd, perhaps more commonly referred to as ‘McDreamy’. Neurosurgeon and absurdly attractive, married to Meredith.
Now: Dempsey only left Grey’s Anatomy last year, but in his film roles, he’s also built up a career in the rom-con genre; notably in Made of Honor, Valentine’s Day, and Disney’s princess-film spoof, Enchanted. He’s now set to appear in Bridget Jones’ Baby later in the year, as a rival to Colin Firth’s Mark Darcy. Also, we had literally no idea that he was a semi-professional auto racer. Did you?
Then: Mark Everett Sloan, also known as ‘McSteamy’, an also absurdly handsome plastic surgeon and Derek’s childhood BFF. Leaves the show in its ninth season, following dramatic events involving a jet plane (there’s never a boring day at Grace Seattle).
Now: Dane is the lead in the TV series The Last Ship, the story of two US Navy vessels trying to survive at sea following a viral pandemic across earth. He’s also appeared in the films Burlesque, Valentine’s Day and Grey Lady. And you can spot him in the miniseries The Fixer, which was released last year.
Then: George O’Malley, intern, then resident at Seattle Grace Hospital. Earns the nickname 007 after freezing in his first surgery (‘cause Bond has a license to kill, geddit?). Leaves the series in season five in dramatic circumstances involving a mistaken identity and a bus crash (but seriously, does anyone NOT depart the series in tragic style?).
Now: Knight has made appearances on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, The Good Wife, and in 11.22.63 (also available to watch on demand) alongside James Franco. He’s also starred in independent films A Year and Change and Hello Again.
Then: Cristina Yang, Cardiothoracic surgical fellow, one of Meredith’s closest friends and possibly one of Seattle Grace’s best surgeons. Leaves at the end of season 10 for a cool new job in Switzerland (ah finally, a character peacefully exiting the show).
Now: Oh has done a lot of voiceover work, namely in Phineas & Ferb and Robot Chicken, as well as for the upcoming animated film Window Horses. She’s also set to star in a comedy called Catfight alongside Alicia Silverstone.
Then: Neonatal surgeon Addison Adrianne Forbes Montgomery, first wife of ‘McDreamy’. She moves to Los Angeles during Grey’s second season, and from then on her story moves to the spin-off series Private Practice (woop, she got a show of her own!)l
Now: Since the end of Private Practice show, Walsh had roles in the TV series Fargo and in the sitcom Bad Judge. She’s also in the dark comedy Just Before I Go and is currently filming in spy thriller Felt alongside Liam Neeson (doesn't that sound awesome?).
Then: Preston Burke, attending cardiothoracic surgeon, who dumps Cristina at the altar, but then years later offers her a really cool job. So on balance, he’s sort of okay. He leaves the show’s main cast at the end of season three, after running off from the above-mentioned wedding.
Now: Plays Chancellor Thelonious Jaha in The 100.And he's guest starred in several other shows, such as Bionic Woman, The Cleaner, Law and Order: LA and Single Ladies.
Then: Erica Hahn, attending cardiothoracic surgeon, workaholic, and possibly the toughest boss ever. Leaves the series during season five, following a sort-of-break-up. Smith is of course also well known for her turn as Catherine Martin in The Silence of the Lambs.
Now: Smith has since guest starred in the series Ray Donovan and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, as well as in the films Interstellar and Labor Day. And she's now slated to appear in an upcoming dramedy called Dude.
Then: Lexie Grey, resident surgeon, and Meredith’s sweet, geeky half-sister. Leaves the series in season eight because... remember that jet plane incident? Well, that.
Now: Leigh starred in the police drama Taxi Brooklyn for a season. But you can currently see her in Supergirl, in which she plays Alex, Kara/Supergirl’s adoptive sister.
Then: Teddy Altman, the Chief of Cardiothoracic surgery for Seattle Grace, in possession of a whole interesting set of jealousy issues. Leaves during the series' eighth season for a job in the army, after being fired from the hospital (but it's in an “it’s for your own good” kind of way, so that's not too bad). Prior to Grey's, Raver was known for starring in the police procedural Third Watch.
Now: Raver is also usually recognised for playing Audrey Raines in 24, and she reprised the role in 2014 for the limited event series sequel, 24: Live Another Day. She has also guest-starred in the post-apocalypic sci-fi show Revolution and in Bones.
Then: Shane Ross, an ambitious, cheery intern who really, really, looks up to Derek. He leaves with Cristina for Switzerland at the end of season 10 (to keep learning from her).
Now: Charles is a series regular on the period crime drama Aquarius, but he's also appeared in Agents of SHIELD and Drunk History.
Then: Callie Torres, senior orthopedic resident, and one of too few bisexual characters on TV. She leaves during the show's 12th season to move to New York with her girlfriend, Penny after a difficult child custody dispute with her ex-wife.
Now: Ramirez has literally only left the show a few months ago, she's probably still getting some much deserved rest. It's probably safe to assume that she'll continue to voice Queen Miranda on the animated series Sofia the First. Also, prior to her role in Grey's, Ramirez starred in several Broadway shows - perhaps she'll feel tempted to take to the stage again?
The new series of Grey’s Anatomy starts on Wednesday 2nd November on Sky Living at 10pm, and is available after broadcast in catch up. Meanwhile you can find every episode to date in On Demand > Box Sets > Drama.
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