KEY POINTS

  • Jesse Williams joined the series in 2009
  • Showrunner Krista Vernoff called Williams "an extraordinary artist and activist"
  • Williams' last episode will air on May 20

Jesse Williams is all set to exit the long-running medical drama, "Grey's Anatomy," after being part of the series for 12 years.

Williams' exit was revealed during Thursday's episode of the show titled, "Look Up Child." The 39-year-old actor portrayed Jackson Avery's character on the ABC network's drama, which was created by series creator Shonda Rhimes. The last episode of Williams is titled "Tradition," and will air on May 20.

"Grey’s Anatomy" executive producer and showrunner Krista Vernoff told Deadline, "Jesse Williams is an extraordinary artist and activist. Watching his evolution these past 11 years both on screen and off has been a true gift."

"Jesse brings so much heart, such depth of care, and so much intelligence to his work," Vernoff added. "We will miss Jesse terribly and we will miss Jackson Avery — played to perfection for so many years."

Besides working as an actor on the show, Williams also directed three episodes of the series -- season 14's "Fight For Your Mind," season 15's "What I Did for Love," and season 16's "Save the Last Dance for Me." The reason for Williams' departure has not been revealed.

This is not the first time an actor left "Grey's Anatomy." Previously actors like Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chyler Leigh, Isaiah Washington, T.R. Knight, Brooke Smith, Sara Ramirez, Sarah Drew, Sandra Oh, Jessica Capshaw and Justin Chambers also exited from the show.

"Grey's Anatomy" first episode aired in 2005 and Williams joined the series in 2009. Apart from the medical drama, Williams also worked in television series like "Little Fires Everywhere," "Power," and "Station 19."

Besides television, the actor has also worked in a couple of movies including the horror drama, "Random Acts of Violence," which was released in 2019. He also appeared in music videos such as "Legacy," "Tell Me You Love Me," "Fall in Love," "Russian Roulette," and "When Your Heart Stops Beating" with musicians like Jay-Z, Rihanna and Demi Lovato.

On the personal front, Williams married his longtime girlfriend, real estate broker Aryn Drake-Lee, in 2012 and divorced in 2017. He shares two children Sadie Williams, 7, and Maceo Williams, 5, with his former wife.

Jesse Williams Pictured: Jesse Williams, who is rumored to be dating sports reporter Taylor Rooks, attending the 11th Annual ADCOLOR Awards at Loews Hollywood Hotel in California on Sept. 19, 2017. Photo: Getty Images/John Sciulli