Grey's Anatomy heartthrob opens up on reasons behind his exit: 'I was let go'

Eric Dane as Mark Sloan
-Credit: (Image: (Image: ABC))

Grey's Anatomy heartthrob Eric Dane has candidly discussed his battle with addiction and its possible impact on his exit from the beloved ABC medical drama. The actor, known for his role as the swoon-worthy Dr Mark Sloan, aka McSteamy, became an instant hit with viewers, forming a dream team alongside

Ellen Pompeo's

Meredith Grey and

Patrick Dempsey's

Derek 'McDreamy' Shepherd.

Despite his popularity, Dane's character faced a dramatic farewell after a harrowing plane crash in the season eight finale, though he later made a surprise return in season 17 during Meredith's coma-induced dreams.

Opening up to Dax Shepard on the Armchair Podcast, Eric didn't shy away from his personal struggles, admitting: "If you take the whole eight years on Grey's Anatomy, I was f***ed up longer than I was sober."

Eric Dane
Eric Dane opened up about the addiction issues he faced while filming Grey's Anatomy -Credit:Getty

He speculated that his addiction issues might have contributed to his departure, alongside the financial implications of his tenure on the show.

Eric shared that he was "let go" and pondered the cutthroat nature of television finances: "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.", reports the Daily Star.

He added: "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."

The star expressed gratitude towards series creator Shonda Rhimes for her unwavering support, despite acknowledging that he had changed: "I wasn't the same guy they had hired."

Before his exit from the series in June 2011, Eric entered a California rehab centre to tackle an addiction to prescription meds following a sports injury.

Though the producers didn't explicitly say Eric was dismissed, it was quite obvious after hints that he wouldn't be coming back to the series. He added that the sudden fame from the show blowing up may have contributed to his addiction issues.

Eric Dane and Patrick Dempsey
Eric Dane and Patrick Dempsey on Greys Anatomy -Credit:(Image: ABC)

"Shonda was really great," he said. "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 felt more like, 'You're not coming back'."

The only full-time original characters that remain on Grey's Anatomy are Chandra Wilson's Dr. Miranda Bailey, and James Pickens Jr's Dr. Richard Webber. Ellen Pompeo's lead role of Meredith Grey is now a recurring character, rather than a regular face on the show.