Grey’s Anatomy’s Giacomo Gianniotti Describes Set After Justin Chambers Exit 

A tough farewell. Grey’s Anatomy star Giacomo Gianniotti opened up about how the ABC show will move forward following Justin Chambers’ exit.

“Any character on the show who leaves, they never die on the show. They’re always spoken about on the show, they’re always referenced,” the 30-year-old Italian actor, who plays Dr. Andrew DeLuca on the series, told Us Weekly exclusively, while promoting his partnership with Nobis on Thursday, March 12. “Their spirit is always alive on the show. They never truly leave, especially someone like him, who’s been on from the beginning.”

Gianniotti continued, “You can’t just write him off and then never talk about him again. He’s there. But, yeah, there’s gaps to fill.”

The Selfie alum dished about Chambers’ last couple of days on set, which included the return of many characters from Grey’s Anatomy’s past due to Meredith Grey’s (Ellen Pompeo) trial. “I think for him to see all these guest stars that he’d interacted with over the years was a cool way, a full-circle moment, to say goodbye to a lot of the cast members,” Gianniotti explained. “These people that he had worked with over these years that he probably hadn’t seen in so long.”

Greys Anatomy Giacomo Gianniotti Describes Set After Justin Chambers Exit
Giacomo Gianniotti and Justin Chambers on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. (ABC/Mitch Haaseth; ABC/Richard Cartwright

Gianniotti revealed that he and his castmates learned of Chambers, 49, leaving the medical drama during a table read. During that specific session, they found out that the episode they were reading for would be Chambers’ last. Gianniotti said that everyone was “very sad,” noting how the Zodiac actor was “such a big part of the show and has been a total mentor” to him.

“We’re sad to see him leave, but he’s been playing this guy for 16 years and we totally respect that he wants to have some time with his family,” he shared with Us. “He’s got five kids, he’s got a lovely family and he wanted to explore the opportunity. So, we couldn’t be happier for him.”

In January, it was announced that Chambers would make his departure from Grey’s Anatomy after 16 seasons. During his time on the long-running series, fans got to know him as Dr. Alex Karev.

Greys Anatomy Giacomo Gianniotti Describes Set After Justin Chambers Exit
Giacomo Gianniotti, the new ambassador for Nobis Outerwear, attends the launch event at The Standard on March 12, 2020 in New York City. Leandro Justen

“There’s no good time to say goodbye to a show and character that’s defined so much of my life for the past 15 years,” Chambers said in a statement to Deadline. “For some time now, however, I have hoped to diversify my acting roles and career choices. And, as I turn 50 and am blessed with my remarkable, supportive wife and five wonderful children, now is that time.”

A farewell tribute episode for Chambers’ Dr. Alex Karev aired on March 5.

Aside from discussing Chambers’ final days on Grey’s Anatomy, Gianniotti opened up about why he chose to partner with Canadian outerwear company Nobis. The actor, who has served as a brand ambassador for the company for nearly six years, also revealed why he connected with Nobis founder Robin Yates’ self-starter story.

“I just really liked the product. I loved his story, his self-made story — that nothing was handed to him,” Gianniotti told Us of Yates. “He was a small businessman in creating something that was new and wanting to put something in the market that didn’t exist. Nobis has pioneered a lot of really incredible technology with [its] jackets that didn’t exist before. They’ve really taken function in fashion very seriously. [It’s] a jacket that looks good, but also interacts with the user and has a lot of really useful pockets and really cool things that go overlooked a lot in fashion.”

With reporting by Marc Lupo

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