By James Hibberd
Updated February 09, 2011 at 06:05 PM EST
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Audra McDonald will exit ABC’s medical drama Private Practice at the end of the current season “in order to spend more time with her family.”

She plays fertility specialist Naomi on the show and could eventually return to the series as a guest star.

“I have spent four amazing years working with the best cast and crew on television at Private Practice,” McDonald told TVLine.com. “Though I am stepping away from the series as a regular in order to spend more time in New York with my family, I am not closing the door on Private Practice or the character, Naomi. I am beyond grateful to Shonda Rhimes, ABC, and the team behind the show.”

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