The two actresses, who portray Dr. April Kepner and Dr. Arizona Robbins, respectively, on the hit ABC medical drama, are set to leave after the end of the current season. They're not expected to return next season if the show gets renewed for a season 15, which is likely.
Shonda Rhimes wrote on Twitter that it was a tough, but necessary, decision to make for her planned storylines on the show.
"It’s always hard for me to say goodbye to any of my characters," Rhimes, 48, began on Twitter. “Both Arizona Robbins and April Kepner are not only beloved but iconic -- both the LBGTQ and devout Christian communities are underrepresented on TV."
Speaking to the actors directly, the showrunner added: "I will be forever grateful to both Jessica and Sarah for bringing these characters to life with such vibrant performance and for inspiring women around the globe. They will always be a part of our Shondaland family."
Due to the enormous backlash from fans on Twitter, both Drew and Capshaw released their own statements on Twitter.
"Thank you for all of the love. I know you're sad. I'm sad, too. I haven't really had the time to process this information," Drew, 37, wrote. "I've been with it for less than 48 hours, so I'm not ready to say my thank yous and give an all-encompassing statement about my nine years here."
"That will come later," she promised. "For now, I'd like to say: I love you, and I love April, and her story isn't over yet."
The actress concluded that this week she'll be on the "Grey's Anatomy" set and will "process" her feelings "surrounded by the community that has nourished and nurtured me for almost a decade. For that, I am so grateful."
Capshaw, 41, in her own statement, wrote, "for the past 10 years I have had the rare privilege of not only playing Arizona Robbins but also being madly in love with playing her."
Capshaw continued, "She was one of the first members of the LGBTQ community to be represented in a series regular role on network television. Her impact on the world is permanent and forever. Forever."
The actress ended her lengthy statement by addressing Rhimes: "Shonda, thank you for the ride on this incredible rollercoaster."
Despite both actresses addressing their departure, it didn't stop fans from creating a Change.org petition to keep them on the show. The petition currently has nearly 1,700 signatures.