‘Grey’s Anatomy’: This Actress Doesn’t Know Why She Got Fired But Laughs About It

Grey’s Anatomy is notorious for killing off characters. Sometimes the actors who play those characters on the award-winning drama are just as surprised as the viewers when these exits occur.

Recently Loretta Devine, who played Chief Richard Webber’s wife Adele, talked to Entertainment Weekly about her surprise exit from the show six years ago.

What happened to Adele Webber?

Grey's Anatomy
Grey’s Anatomy | Danny Feld/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Devine played the character from 2005 to 2013, winning an Emmy award for Outstanding Guest Actress in ABC’s Drama Series for the role.

The 69-year-old actress recently told EW’s Couch Surfing that she’d just won the Emmy for her guest spot on the show and “they fired me right after that.”

With a laugh, she explains that they killed her with “that damn Alzheimer’s.”

In the episode “Things We Said Today,” Adele wakes from surgery, performed by Richard and Miranda Bailey, to repair an aneurysm. Bailey had delayed going to her own wedding to help with the surgery. When Richard arrives at the wedding, he explains that the surgery was too much strain on Adele’s heart. She had a heart attack and died.

Was a co-star to blame?

Devine jokingly says that she thinks co-star Debbie Allen is the culprit.

Allen, who plays Dr. Catherine Fox, officially joined the series two years before Devine’s character died. Allen’s character began an affair with Dr. Richard Webber, Adele’s husband.

After Adele’s death, Richard and Catherine went on to get married.

Maybe Devine’s onto something. She explains with a laugh that she was working on Dreamgirls (2006) when Debbie Allen “came over, took over that, then I was gone.”

Allen eventually followed her to Grey’s Anatomy and “took over that, then I was gone.”

Devine was working on Lifetime’s The Client List and got word that Allen was coming to the show to direct. She says, “I got scared as hell!”

Devine says that Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes was able to explain what happened to Adele Webber with Catherine Avery’s character. Married to Richard previously, Adele was fighting for her life at the hospital and during that time, Richard and Catherine began their affair.

It’s all light-hearted banter though — the actresses share nothing but love and mutual respect. 

What’s Devine up to now?

Life is good for the Emmy winner who just landed a recurring role on ABC’s critically-acclaimed comedy black-ish. Deadline reports that Devine will be playing opposite Laurence Fishburne on the show’s 6th season. 

After a lot of changes for the Johnson family, Fishburne’s Pops will shock everyone when he introduces his new fiancee played by Devine. It’s certain to add a new level of fun to the popular comedy.

Devine will also appear in Family Reunion on Netflix and in the upcoming drama series P-Valley on Starz. She’s also starring in Never Too Late which is in post-production and headed for the big screen.

Devine is part of an all-star cast that includes Ellen Burstyn, James Caan, Ann-Margret, Christopher Lloyd, and many others. 

Devine is currently filming The Starling according to Playbill with Kevin Kline, Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd, and Daveed Diggs. The film which follows a grieving married couple through their healing process and gardening also stars Timothy Olyphant, Laura Harrier, Skyler Gisondo, and others. It’s written by Matt Harris.

Represented by Innovative Artists and Essential Talent Management, Loretta Devine is a busy, talented actress who will be gracing our screens, big and small, for some time to come.