Chyler Leigh left Grey's Anatomy in 2012 after season 8
Chyler Leigh
Credit: Phillip Chin/Getty

Chyler Leigh is cherishing her return to her Grey's Anatomy roots during the show's 17th season. 

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Leigh opened up about how she felt reprising her role as Lexie Grey for the first time in nearly a decade.

"It was a really interesting experience just because I did have to film it up here in Canada because you can't travel back and forth to the [United] States," the actress, 39, said. "So all of my stuff was done on basically green screen. And we're not sitting on the rocks. I was sitting on an apple box, and I was talking to tennis balls. So in that sense, it was interesting."

"But understanding there are dynamics between [my character] Lexie and [Ellen Pompeo's character] Meredith, and then Lexie and [Eric Dane's character] Mark. It was really special to be able to be part of it and especially telling such a powerful story," she added.

Leigh noted that this season pays tribute to first responders and what they've endured while working through the coronavirus pandemic. 

"To be part of that was obviously very special," she continued. "And to be able to close the chapter for Lexie, and to appear in a way where she's not eaten by wolves. Kind of bring a little life back to it ... It was a special experience to be able to be part of that."

Chyler Leigh and Eric Dane Reunite on Grey's Anatomy
Credit: ABC

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Leigh joined Grey's Anatomy in 2007 as Meredith Grey's half-sister Lexie in the medical drama's third season. In 2012, she left the series on her own terms after season 8.

"Earlier this year, I made the decision that Season 8 would be my last," she said in a statement to TVLine at the time. "I met with [series creator] Shonda [Rhimes] and we worked together to give Lexie's story appropriate closure."

Leigh's character was ultimately killed off in a plane crash, but her character returns from the dead in the show's 17th season, which began airing in November 2020. Season 17 also saw original stars Patrick Dempsey (Derek Shepard), T.R. Knight (George O'Malley) and Dane, 48, returning to the long-running ABC series. 

After Dempsey's Grey's Anatomy guest-starring stint concluded, he spoke to Variety about the possibility of reappearing on the series again.

"Who knows? Never say never with this show, right?" the actor — who appeared in four episodes this season — said last month. "I'm glad we did it this year. And [showrunner] Krista Vernoff did a fantastic job telling the story. It was just a great way to give people some hope."

Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.