Eric Dane Reflects on Being 'Let Go' from “Grey’s Anatomy”: 'I Wasn't the Same Guy They Had Hired'

"I didn't leave so much as I think I was let go," Dane admitted of his time on 'Grey’s Anatomy'

<p>Bob D

Bob D'Amico/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty

Eric Dane as Mark Sloan on "Grey's Anatomy"

Eric Dane is looking back on his departure from Grey’s Anatomy.

During an appearance on the Armchair Expert podcast, the 51-year-old actor reflected on leaving the ABC medical drama after starring as Dr. Mark Sloan (a.k.a. McStreamy) for six seasons from 2006 to 2012.

"I didn't leave so much as I think I was let go," he admitted to host Dax Shepard.

When Shepard, 49, noted the actor was “struggling” with drug and alcohol addiction at that point, Dane responded, “I was struggling. They didn't let me go because of that, although it definitely didn't help."

<p>Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty</p> Eric Dane at the premiere of "Bad Boys: Ride or Die" at the TCL Chinese Theater on May 30, 2024 in Hollywood, California.

Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty

Eric Dane at the premiere of "Bad Boys: Ride or Die" at the TCL Chinese Theater on May 30, 2024 in Hollywood, California.

Related: Eric Dane Says His Daughters Have Seen 'Every Episode' of Grey’s Anatomy — but They'll 'Never' Watch Euphoria

Dane clarified that he believes that he was let go from the series — which was renewed for a 21st season in April — due to financial reasons.

"I was starting to become — as most of these actors who have spent significant time on the show — you start to become very expensive for the network," he claimed. "And the network knows that the show is going to do what it's going to do irrespective of who they keep on it—as long as they have their Grey they were fine."

He continued: "I wasn't the same guy they had hired, so I had understood when I was let go and [show creator] Shonda [Rhimes] was really great.”

Dane went on to praise Rhimes’ handling of the situation, saying, "She protected us fiercely. She protected us publicly, she protected us privately... I love Shonda Rhimes and she protected me but I was probably fired. It wasn't ceremoniously like, 'You're fired,' it was just like, 'You're not coming back.'"

ABC did not immediately return PEOPLE’s request for comment.

<p>Scott Garfield/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty</p> From left: Eric Dane and Cheryl Leigh on "Grey's Anatomy"

Scott Garfield/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty

From left: Eric Dane and Cheryl Leigh on "Grey's Anatomy"

Related: 'Grey's Anatomy' Cast: Where Are They Now?

Dane revealed that he was sober for “three or four years” before landing the role on Grey’s Anatomy but ultimately relapsed during the Writers Guild of America Strike in 2007.

"If you take the whole eight years I was on Grey's Anatomy, I was f---ed up longer than I was sober and that was when things started going sideways for me," he added.

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In 2012, Dane announced he would be leaving the show after a six-season run.

“I am extremely grateful to everyone at Grey‘s, ABC and Shondaland for the experience and memories I have had over the course of this run,” he told TVLine in a statement. “It has been wonderful to work alongside and learn from a creative force such as Shonda Rhimes.”

“After much consideration and conversations, he and I have decided that this is the right time for his storyline to end,” show creator Shonda Rhimes told TVLine at the time. “We’re a big family here at Grey‘s with a long history together and Eric will always remain an important part of our family.”

Dane’s character was involved in a deadly plane crash in season 11 and died at the beginning of season 12. He returned for a guest appearance in season 17 alongside his on-screen love Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh), who also died in the crash.

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