Eric Dane Revealed The Reason Why He Thinks He Was "Let Go" From "Grey's Anatomy," And It Kind Of Makes Sense

This post contains discussion of substance abuse.

Eric Dane's been in plenty of things at this point, but you definitely know him best from his time on ABC's long-running TV drama juggernaut Grey's Anatomy.

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Eric played Mark Sloan on Grey's for six years — from 2006 to 2012, specifically. He also came back on the show for a guest spot in 2021, but we won't go into the specifics of that appearance because it's a big spoiler.

Eric Dane, in a white lab coat, looking down thoughtfully. The background is indistinct
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So, Eric recently appeared on the Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard podcast, and during the episode he went into the exact specifics (as he sees it, at least) around his Grey's departure — which, he really hasn't spoken about in the past.

Eric Dane is smiling at a formal event, wearing a dark-colored button-up shirt with a crew neck t-shirt underneath. The background shows a colorful abstract pattern
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“I didn’t leave so much as I think I was let go,” he said, noting that he was "struggling" at the time with substance abuse issues.

Ellen Pompeo and Eric Dane in hospital scrubs and white coats, appearing to be in a medical setting, looking at each other with serious expressions
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"They didn’t let me go because of that, although it definitely didn’t help," he specified, before also explaining that his longevity on the show itself — and the resulting price tag of his salary that came with it — was likely the reason why he eventually took his final bow.

Eric Dane is outdoors, wearing a casual hooded jacket with hands in pockets
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"As most of these actors who have spent significant time on the show, you start to become very expensive for the network,” he explained.

Closeup of Eric Dane in "Grey's Anatomy"
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“And the network knows that the show is going to do what it’s going to do irrespective of who they keep on it — as long as they have their Grey, they were fine.”

Patrick Dempsey and Eric Dane are in a hospital setting, wearing white lab coats with ID cards
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Eric also said that he "wasn't the same guy they hired" by the end of his run, and that he "understood" when, and why, his number was up — and he had nothing but kind words for Grey's head honcho Shonda Rhimes, too.

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“She protected us fiercely," he said of Shonda, who he also called "really great." "She protected us publicly, she protected us privately… I love Shonda Rhimes, and she protected me, but I was probably fired."

James Pickens Jr., Chandra Wilson, Eric Dane, Shonda Rhimes, Justin Chambers, and Loretta Devine at an awards ceremony. Shonda holds an award while speaking
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"It wasn’t ceremoniously like, ‘You’re fired,’ it was just like, ‘You’re not coming back.’”

Eric Dane, in a reflective mood, rests his arms on a surface, smiling gently. He is wearing a white coat and a wristwatch
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You can check out the entire interview here.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, you can call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) and find more resources here.