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Patrick Dempsey on Leaving 'Grey's Anatomy': 'I Stayed a Bit Longer than I Should Have'

by Elisa Osegueda 4:35 PM PDT, September 08, 2016
Photo: Getty Images

Turns out, Patrick Dempsey was more than ready to move on from Grey's Anatomy.

The 50-year-old actor reveals that he was ready to say goodbye to his character, Dr. Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd, after playing him for 11 seasons on the hit ABC show.

WATCH: Patrick Dempsey Opens Up About Restoring Marriage: 'We Both Wanted to Fight for It'

"I'm very grateful for Grey's Anatomy," Dempsey tells People. "It's given me the opportunity to do everything. But at the same time, there was a cost."

Dempsey explains that it was the long hours and time commitment that ultimately helped him decide his fate on the series.

"I think after a certain period of time, no matter how much money you make, you want control out of your own schedule," says Dempsey, who is the father of three children: Talula, 14, and 8-year-old twin boys, Darby and Sullivan.

"It had been long enough," he shares. "It was time for me to move on with other things and other interests. I probably should have moved on a couple of years earlier. I stayed a bit longer than I should have."

When it came time to discuss his decision to leave the program with with show creator Shonda Rhimes, he says "it was clear we were both ready. But we kept it very quiet."

"I knew he was going to be gone, but I didn't know how she was going to handle it," he adds. "Shonda just said, I'm going to do it in a really good way and she did her thing. It definitely woke people up. And it was beautifully symbolic in many ways."

WATCH: Renee Zellweger and Patrick Dempsey Make a Stunning Pair Ahead of 'Bridget Jones's Baby'

Dempsey will appear next in the romantic comedy Bridget Jones's Baby opposite Renee Zellweger, who reprises her beloved role as the title character in the film.

For more on the highly anticipated third installment, watch the video below.

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