Sandra Oh Called Her ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Fame “Traumatic”

She said the loss of anonymity was extremely hard to deal with at times.

Though Sandra Oh started her acting career long before she became Cristina Yang on Grey’s Anatomy, it was the hit ABC show that shot her to stardom. She debuted with the show from the jump, winning over viewers with her relationship with Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and no-taking-shit attitude toward her work. When she left the show after Season 10 in 2014, fans were crushed to see her go, but her meteoric rise to fame opened doors for new work and to be able to use her platform—but also the incredible stress of being a big name in Hollywood.

“To be perfectly honest, it was traumatic. It was traumatic,” Oh said in an August 29th interview on Sunday Today With Willie Geist. “And the reason why I’m saying that is the circumstances you need to do your work is with a lot of privacy. So when one loses one’s anonymity, you have to build skills to still try and be real. I went from not being able to go out, like hiding in restaurants, to then being able to manage attention, manage expectation, while not losing the sense of self.”

She went on to reveal that therapy has been her go-to way of dealing with fame and all the stress that comes with it. It’s been a journey over the last several years of finding a balance with her public life and personal life, but despite how much Grey’s weighed on her, Oh reiterated in the interview that that was not why she left the show. Instead, she said it was a “deeply creative decision” to exit the Shonda Rhimes mainstay.

Since then, Oh has been asked time and time again if she might return to Grey Sloan Memorial, if even for a cameo, and her answer is steadfast: Not gonna happen. She told the Los Angeles Times in May this year, “It’s very rare, I would say, to be able to see in such a way the impact of a character. In some ways, you do your work as a bubble and you let it go. I left that show, my God, seven years ago almost. So in my mind, it’s gone. But for a lot of people, it’s still very much alive. And while I understand and I love it, I have moved on.”

Grey’s will return for an 18th season this fall and, yet again, Oh—and Cristina Yang—will not be a part of it. Instead, you can watch her in Netflix’s The Chair or on the Emmy-winning Killing Eve.

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