Why Sara Ramirez’s Callie Left After Season 12


Callie Torres became one of the most important characters in Grey’s Anatomy, but why did she leave after season 12? Here’s what happened.

Grey’s Anatomy has seen many, many characters go, all for different reasons that go from behind-the-scenes troubles to simply wanting to try other projects. Among those is Callie Torres, played by Sara Ramirez, who left the series after season 12 – and here’s why. Created by Shonda Rhimes, Grey’s Anatomy debuted on ABC in 2005 as a mid-season replacement, but it was so well received, it has lived on for over 10 seasons. Of course, the cast has gone through a lot of changes, with many fan-favorites leaving the show and many more joining to add more drama to the mix.

Grey’s Anatomy follows the basic premise of medical dramas, focusing on the lives of surgical interns, residents, and attendings as they do their best to juggle their personal and professional lives. The series is led by Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), through which the audience has met a variety of people, among those Callie Torres, who first appeared in season 2. Callie went on to become part of the main cast and a favorite among fans, which is why her departure left viewers shocked and wondering why she left in the first place.

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Related: Grey’s Anatomy: Penny’s Abrupt Season 12 Exit Explained

Callie is an orthopedic surgeon whose personal life became the primary focus of her arc. Callie was married to George O’Malley but divorced after he cheated on her with Izzie Stevens. She later got involved with her best friend Mark Sloan, and she eventually realized she’s bisexual, and had a relationship with Erica Hahn and Arizona Robbins, even marrying the latter – but the marriage ended after she started to feel “suffocated”, while Arizona stated she couldn’t live without her. Callie started dating Penny and wanted to move to New York with her, but after a custody battle with Arizona over their daughter, Sofia, she broke up with Penny. Arizona ended up offering her a custody agreement so she could move to New York, and so Callie left Grey’s Anatomy in season 12.

mark and callie laughing


More often than not, especially in Grey’s Anatomy’s case, actors end up leaving due to behind-the-scenes issues, but that wasn’t the case with Sara Ramirez. Callie Torres had been a part of the series for 10 years, so Ramirez felt it was time to leave, sharing on Twitter that she was “deeply grateful” to have been part of Grey’s Anatomy for a decade, but was going to take “some welcome time off”. Rhimes later shared (via US Magazine) that she had a different plan for Callie when Ramirez told her she needed to take a break, but Ramirez left the door open to return someday, though that hasn’t happened yet.

Callie’s departure seemed abrupt to some, but compared to the fates of other characters in Grey’s Anatomy, it wasn’t a bad ending. It’s unknown of Rhimes has plans to bring Callie back, even if briefly, in future seasons, but it’s good to know Ramirez isn’t opposed to the idea – after all, Callie became one of the most important characters in the series, as well as the longest-running LGBT character in TV history.

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Updated: October 24, 2020 — 9:30 pm

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