Actress Sandra Oh is to leave the successful US medical drama, Grey's Anatomy, after eight years playing Dr. Cristina Yang at the fictional Seattle Grace Hospital. Oh was one of the original six cast members who launched the series in 2005.

An emotional Oh spoke of her decision the The Hollywood Reporter, saying "Creatively, I really feel like I gave it my all, and I feel ready to let her go. 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. [Cristina] wants to be let go, and I am ready to let her go. We have to start the process, story-wise, for the Grey's writers to think of why she's going to go."

Sandra Oh
Sandra Oh Has Announced Her Grey's Anatomy Exit.

The 42 year-old actress spoke of how, after signing for two more years in 2012, she underwent therapy to decide whether an exit in 2014 would be right for her.

"I had to prepare myself. I gave myself two years to emotionally let go. At the end of last season, Shonda [Rhimes, writer] took me aside and said, 'What are your thoughts?' I said, 'I'm ready.'" The Golden Globe winner decided to share her decision with the rest of the cast during the read-through for the 200th episode. It is not known if any of the other cast members will leave the show after their two year signing but Rhimes has said "I want everybody for as long as they want to stay."

Sandra Oh
Oh Will Exit After The Upcoming Tenth Season.

Oh's distinctive, strong, female character, Dr. Yang, is known for putting her career ahead of her personal life and made the decision not to have children: a choice that impacted upon her romantic relationships in the show. Though Oh feels like Yang has become a "state of being" rather than a part she's acting, she admits that "[Cristina's choice] infuriates me as a woman, as a human being and as someone who loves babies - it drives me nuts [but] I adamantly stand by Cristina's ability and desire to not have a baby and to be happy about that."

"One of the best days of my life as a writer happened the day Sandra Oh walked in my door to audition," professes Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes, adding "Over the past 10 seasons, I have been made better by Sandra's trust, faith and friendship." Rhimes has admitted in the past that the character of Dr. Yang is based partially on herself and was the second character created after the main part of Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo).

Sandra Oh
Sandra Had To Undergo Therapy To Accept That It Was Time To Leave
Grey's Anatomy.

It is unclear how Oh's Yang will be written out of the season, and whether it will use the events of the final episode of season nine as a springboard into her departure. Regarding Cristina's final season, Oh said, "I want this to be a celebration. I want us to get to that point where we see this character ride off into the sunset. Letting go of such a huge part of my life[...]I want to cry right now. Grey's has been the most important role of my life. It's got to be Cristina Yang's happily ever after."

Shonda Rhimes
Shonda Rhimes Has Spoken Warmly Of The Departing Actress.

The actress, who has starred in films such as Rabbit Hole and Hard Candy, indicated that she will never leave her career-defining role behind: "I feel like in 10 or 20 years, when I'm lounging around in my muumuu with a martini, I'm going to watch Grey's Anatomy from the pilot to whenever it ends, and I'm going to enjoy[...]being able to see it with a new perspective."

Grey's Anatomy will return on 29th September at 9pm.