When Nina Dobrev announced she was leaving The Vampire Diaries, we were confused. We were hurt. We wondered how a show could continue without its star. But then we realized it wasn’t the first time something like this has happened. TV stars have left and the shows have continued, usually to a lesser degree of success, but they’ve forged on anyway. Here are some famous departures:
1. Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries)
As we mentioned, it just doesn’t seem right that Nina’s leaving The Vampire Diaries, which is essentially her show. How will everything turn out? We’ll just have to watch and see.
2. Mischa Barton (The O.C.)
Her troubled character, Marissa, was killed off before The O.C.’s final season. We must admit, the last season felt much lighter without her.
3. Steve Carell (The Office)
Many worried about how The Office would manage without its regional manager – and rightfully so. The show just wasn’t the same without Michael Scott. At least he had a good send-off episode.
4. Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy)
Sandra, one of the last original main characters on Grey’s Anatomy, chose to leave the show after its 10th season. She had a nice, long run, but Grey’s just isn’t the same without Dr. Yang.
5. Charlie Sheen (Two and a Half Men)
Well, this departure we can understand. Charlie Sheen was pretty bonkers when he parted ways with Two and a Half Men. The show successfully replaced him with Ashton Kutcher and it ran for four more seasons.
6. Christopher Meloni (Law & Order: SVU)
In 2011, after 12 seasons, Christopher Meloni decided to depart Law & Order: SVU. Problem: He was one-half of the show’s iconic pair, Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson. His departure left a hole in the show, which they tried to fill with new characters.
7. Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey)
Dan broke all of our hearts when he decided to leave Downton Abbey for good. Did Matthew Crawley have to go out in such a devastating, permanent way?!
8. Zach Braff (Scrubs)
Zach left Scrubs at the end of its 8th season. The 9th and final season aired without him, but what was the point really?
9. Jessica Lange (American Horror Story)
The Queen of American Horror Story announced she would not be returning for the show’s fifth season (aka the Lady Gaga season). Somehow we don’t think Gaga will quite be able to fill her shoes.
10. Shannen Doherty (Beverly Hills 90210, Charmed)
This girl just can’t stick with a show. She’s notoriously difficult to work with, so we’re not quite sure if she’s left on her own accord or was forced out. Either way, she was replaced on both Beverly Hills 90210 and Charmed.
11. Alyssa Milano (Mistresses)
Shannen’s Charmed co-star also left a show prematurely. Alyssa decided not to return for Mistresses’ third season because the show’s production relocated to Vancouver, Canada. Alyssa explained she was just not willing to uproot her family.
12. Katherine Heigl (Grey’s Anatomy)
Big mistake, Katie. She thought she was too good for her TV gig on Grey’s (and ok fine, the Ghost Denny storyline was a bit ridiculous), but after she left, she didn’t have much luck in the movie world.
13. Ashton Kutcher and Topher Grace (The 70’s Show)
Ashton might have came in to the save the day on Two and a Half Men, but he and Topher both up and left the show that launched their careers in 2005. Ashton clearly did alright for himself post-70’s, but Topher not so much.
Which TV departure hit you the hardest? Let us know in the comments!