Kate Walsh as Addison Montgomery in Grey's Anatomy
Credit: Getty Images

We have good news and bad news. In Season 19, episode 12, we finally learned that Addison survived the devastating car crash (phew!). But then she left Grey Sloan suddenly and returned a few episodes later. Now, we all want to know: Is Addison Montgomery returning to Grey’s Anatomy for good?

Grey’s Anatomy is ABC’s popular medical drama that follows the lives of surgical interns, residents and attendings at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital (previously known as Seattle Grace Hospital and Seattle Grace Mercy West) in Seattle, Washington. Dr. Addison Montgomery, the renowned neonatal surgeon and OB/GYN specializing in maternal-fetal medicine and fetal surgery, is played by actress Kate Walsh. We first saw Addison in the season 1 finale as Dr. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey)’s estranged wife. After appearing in the early seasons of Grey’s, she was given her very own spin-off, Private Practice, from 2007 to 2013. The series focused on her journey as she created her Los Angeles-based practice and started a family.

Walsh made her official return to Grey’s in season 18, episode 3 for multiple episodes, then eventually reprised her role on a recurring basis for Grey’s Anatomy season 19. Her return concurred with the news that Ellen Pompeo would be taking on a reduced role as Meredith Grey in the forthcoming season. Wash made her season 19 debut in episode 3, “Let’s Talk About Sex,” to educate teenagers on the importance of safe sex.

Why did Addison Montgomery leave Grey’s Anatomy again?

Kate Walsh and Jess Gabor in Grey's Anatomy

Why did Addison Montgomery leave Grey’s Anatomy again? Protests about abortion care have been the main issue in the latest episodes of the Seattle-based medical drama. In episode 11, Addison is teaching a group of visiting OBGYN residents about where abortions are outlawed after Roe V. Wade was overturned. The episode gets violent when a large group of anti-abortion protesters assembles outside of the hospital. A brick is thrown into the hospital with the words “Murder Montgomery” plastered on it, hitting intern Benson Kwan (Harry Shum Jr.). The protesters knew where Addison was because one of the out-of-state residents shared on social media that she would be working at the hospital with the acclaimed doctor. Addison admits that she’s received a lot of backlash recently from protesters and wears a bulletproof vest for protection.

After the episode, the group exits the clinic when protesters have been cleared out. As they exit the building, Addison and an OB/GYN fellow (Tia), who is pregnant, are struck by an oncoming vehicle driving straight toward them. At the end of the episode, we saw Addison and Tia’s lifeless bodies sprawled on the ground as doctors rushed to save them.

Kate Walsh and Jess Gabor in Grey's Anatomy

In episode 12, directed by Kevin McKidd (Dr. Owen Hunt), we learn that Addison and Tia — as well as Tia’s baby — all survived at the hands of Grey Sloan’s incredible doctors. At the end of the episode, Addison’s injuries are checked out and her dislocated arm is in a sling. When it’s suggested that she takes a break, she confides in her former sister-in-law, Dr. Amelia Shepherd (Caterina Scorsone). “Since so many so many clinics have closed in the last several months, I’m the only option they have. It’s exhausting. It’s a disaster,” Addison tells Shepherd in an emotional plea. “And I can’t take a ‘break.’ If I take the break, who’s going to do all of the work?”

We then see Addison outside the hospital with Dr. Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) and Dr. Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr.). Webber jokes and asks Addison if she needs “any money, food?” to which she responds: “I’m not going off to college!” After Webber thanks her for coming to the hospital, Addison says that it’s “time to sweep off the glass and get back to work.” Dr. Bailey tells Addison to “Please be safe out there,” and then Addison’s car takes off.

Is Addison Montgomery returning to Grey’s Anatomy for good?

Kate Walsh, Chandra Wilson and Niemi Kate in Grey's Anatomy

Is Addison Montgomery returning to Grey’s Anatomy for good? After leaving without explanation in Episode 12, we finally saw Addison again in Season 19, Episode 16, “Gunpowder and Lead,” to stock up supplies and see baby Connor in the NICU. The actress has been in and out of the 19th season, only appearing in a few episodes, but is she finally here to stay? In an interview with Variety in 2021, the actress said that fans were part of the reason why she returned to Grey Sloan for Season 19. “It felt just beautiful and I was so pleased,” she explained. “For years and years, there wasn’t an interview that I’ve ever done where someone hasn’t said, ‘So fans are wondering, will you ever go back to Grey’s?’ And so, I did.”

She continued: “I was very satisfied and delighted by it. And, honestly, that’s always been [the thought]: you do this for the fans,” she added. “One of the great experiences of having been on Grey’s way back in the day, when it first began, was this crazy meaning of it being critically acclaimed and being a delight to do as an actor, [while] having mass appeal and having fans just love it.” Because Walsh isn’t a series regular and stars in a recurring role, it’s likely that she’ll continue to be in and out of the season until the Season 19 finale. We expect that she’ll have a greater role in the season finale, as Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) is slated to make her final appearance on Thursday, May 18, 2023.

Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursday at 9 p.m. on ABC.

For more on Grey’s Anatomy, check out our photo gallery on the Grey’s Anatomy cast’s real-life relationships