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Shonda Rhimes: Killing Off 'Grey's Anatomy's McDreamy 'Wasn't Easy Or Fun'

Shonda Rhimes says it "wasn't easy or fun" to kill Patrick Dempsey's character fondly nicknamed McDreamy, on 'Grey's Anatomy'.

Dempsey had played Dr. Derek Shepherd for over a decade seasons on the long-running medical drama. He was in a relationship with Ellen Pompeo's Dr. Meredith Grey.

During a conversation on Tuesday, Rhimes said she wanted a development in the their love story so it was a choice between having the character meet his demise or break the long-time couple apart.

"The only way to preserve what felt true to me was that Derek was gonna have to die," she said.

Pompeo said she looked forward to the challenge because "those are the best scenes to play. So many people lose their spouses in a myriad of different ways and feel they can't get up again and to tell the story of how life goes on after... that's a story worth telling."

Rhimes teased that season 12 will be "lighter in tone" but one that will show the aftermath with Pompeo's character dealing with being a widowed mother.

Meanwhile, during his discussion with reporters, ABC President Paul Lee hinted that Rhimes wanted the character written off the show because of Dempsey's other interests.

"It was a difficult decision. Patrick obviously has lots of interests outside," he said, referring to actor's aspirations as an amateur race car driver. "Shonda decided that was the way to go."

August 5, 2015 |

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