Eric Dane Reflects on Being ‘Let Go’ From Grey’s Anatomy: ‘I Was F–ked Up Longer Than I Was Sober’

Eric Dane, who played Dr. Mark Sloan (aka McSteamy) on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, is revisiting his exit from the show, revealing why he believes he was “let go.”

“If you take the whole eight years on Grey’s Anatomy, I was f—ked up longer than I was sober. And that’s when things started going sideways for me,” Dane revealed in a recent episode of Dax Shepard’s Armchair Podcast.

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Dane joined Grey’s in Season 2, and exited the long-running medical drama in the early episodes of Season 9 when his character died from injuries sustained in a plane crash during the Season 8 finale. He later made a guest appearance in Season 17 (2021), reuniting with Meredith on limbo beach.

“I think I was let go,” he explained. While his struggles with addiction may have played a role in the network’s decision for Dane not to return, the actor believes money could have also been a factor.

“I was starting to become, as most of these actors who have spent significant time on a show, you start to become very expensive for the network,” Dane said. “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’re fine.”

He continued: “I wasn’t the same guy they had hired. So I had understood when I was let go. And Shonda [Rhimes] was really great. She protected us fiercely. She protected us publicly. She protected us privately… But I was probably fired. It wasn’t ceremoniously like, ‘You’re fired,’ it was just like, ‘You’re not coming back.’”

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greys anatomy exits

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“I had many options for ways Mark could leave the show,” Rhimes explained after Dane’s final episode as a series regular aired in 2012. “But any option that didn’t include him dying required him to a) grieve for Lexie indefinitely and b) willingly walk away from his daughter. We fought about this incessantly in the Writers Room. I didn’t want Mark to die but, as the writers rightfully argued back, Mark couldn’t abandon Sofia and he certainly couldn’t abandon Callie once Arizona’s leg was amputated.”

Dane currently stars as Cal Jacobs, Jacob Elordi’s on-screen dad, in HBO’s Euphoria. His most recent acting credit is for the film Bad Boy: Ride or Die starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence.

TVLine has reached out to ABC for comment.

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