By James Hibberd
Updated May 31, 2011 at 11:00 PM EDT
Credit: Danny Feld/ABC

Is Patrick Dempsey quitting Grey’s Anatomy?

The actor’s publicist released a statement to EW that suggested he was taken somewhat out of context during a recent interview that’s set stirred up Grey’s fans. Dempsey told the Italian edition of Vanity Fair that he won’t return to Grey’s Anatomy after next season. “It will be my last,” Dempsey said. “I don’t know what will happen with the other characters, but for me, it’s done.”

That sounds pretty clear to us. But Dempsey’s rep says he was only referring to his contract being up after next season and it’s uncertain what he will do next:

“He was referring to the fact that his contract is up at the end of next season and we have no idea what the future holds.”

So … is this post-publication hedging the result of showrunner/studio/network phone calls telling the actor to continue the party line for the sake of the show? Or is Dempsey laying the groundwork for his next round of contract negotiations? At the end of the day, both statements could be true: The actor may feel totally done with Grey’s and want to move on, but you never know what will happen if ABC backs up the money truck.

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Grey's Anatomy

Meredith. Alex. Bailey. The doctors are definitely in on Shonda Rhimes' hospital melodrama.

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