At the time, Rhimes received nasty backlash for her decision, but she's finally explaining why she decided to axe Shepherd, played by Patrick Dempsey.
Speaking to a room full of reporters on Tuesday, Rhimes revealed she made the decision for one great reason: to uphold the love shared between characters Meredith Grey and Derek Shepherd.
"What were the options? Either Der was going to walk out on Mer and leave her high and dry, and what was that going to mean?" Rhimes said on a panel at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, according to Us Weekly. "That would suggest the love wasn't true, the thing we had said for 11 years was a lie."
Rhimes also revealed it was not an easy decision for her to kill off Shepherd, saying, "Meredith and Derek's love had to remain Meredith and Derek's love. As painful as it was for me as a storyteller, the only way to preserve what felt true to me was Derek was going to have to die for that love to remain honest."
So, what can you expect in Season 12, now that McDreamy is no more?
According to Rhimes, the upcoming season will have a "rebirth" theme. Grey will be living as a single woman, but this time around it will be very different from how she was before she met Shepherd.
"We do have this world in which Meredith is single, and she is living this life that she hadn't thought she was going to be living again," Rhimes said.
And you'll see personalized content just for you whenever you click the My Feed .
SheKnows is making some changes!