As ABC’s top scripted drama, and having run for nearly 10 seasons now, Grey’s Anatomy’s characters are household names, and familiar faces, too. And that’s why Sandra Oh's exit has hit showrunner Shonda Rimes so hard.

Sandra OhSandra Oh at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Awards

Oh plays the confident Dr. Cristina Yang, and has done so for eight years on the popular medical drama. “Creatively, I really feel like I gave it my all, and I feel ready to let her go,” she revealed of her exit. “It’s such an interesting thing to play a character for so long and to actually get the sense that she wants to be let go as well.” (The Mail)

But for showrunner Rhimes, this exit doesn’t feel stir up the familiar feelings usually conjured by the merry-go-round that is network television – she’s losing one of the original six cast members who all started as medical interns on the show.

“I know Sandra pretty well. It was one of those things where I so wished it wasn't true for many reasons. For me, as a human being, I love spending time with Sandra, and as a writer, writing for Sandra is one of the best things that's ever happened to me,” explained Rhimes to The Hollywood Reporter.

Sandra Oh NBCOh leaves the show after eight years and ten seasons

The Canadian-born actress - who received the key to the city of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada from Mayor Jim Watson last month – is said to be looking forward to pastures new as she embraces oppurtunities after Grey’s.

“I would hope that it wouldn't be happening -- but I also know Sandra, and I know that it's time for her to have new challenges. I get to have new challenges all the time because I get to create other shows, but she doesn't get to do that, so I fully understood it,” continued Rhimes.

Grey's Anatomy returns for its 10th season with a two-hour premiere on Thursday, Sept. 26, at 9 p.m. on ABC