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This Fan-Favorite Character Is Returning To Grey's Anatomy

"Grey's Anatomy" is known for its rotating cast of characters. With its 18th season underway, the ABC series is the longest-running prime-time medical drama of all time (per Gold Derby), so it's no wonder its IMDb page boasts an endless list of cast member names for both main and recurring characters.

While some of the characters have been in it for the long haul— paging Ellen Pompeo's Meredith Grey, for example -– others, like her McDreamy (Patrick Dempsey), suffered an early demise at the hands of the show's writers. In fact, most of the OGs from the show — Dempsey, Sandra Oh, T.R. Knight, Justin Chambers, Katherine Heigl, Eric Dane — made their exits from Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital years ago,  many of them when the place was still named Seattle Grace! Viewers have seen deaths, divorces, and the occasional ghost. But there's someone who will be making a very unexpected return to those hospital corridors after a nearly 10-year absence, and it's a character whom viewers thought they'd never see again.

Kate Walsh will return to Grey's Anatomy as Dr. Addison Montgomery

Kate Walsh was one of the original stars of "Grey's Anatomy," playing Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd's estranged wife Addison Montgomery when the show debuted in 2005. The neonatal surgeon was a "love-to-hate" character — while she was married to the hospital's dreamiest doc, she got "McSteamy" with Dr. Mark Sloan (Eric Dane) on the side. Addison Montgomery famously made her first appearance on the Season 1 finale, when she turned up at Seattle Grace and introduced herself as Derek Shepherd's wife to a stunned Meredith Grey.

Walsh's character ultimately scored herself a Los Angeles-based spinoff, "Private Practice," which premiered in 2007. Fans haven't seen Dr. Montgomery since her final days at the Seaside Health and Wellness Center, when she rode off into the sunset with new husband Jake Reilly (Benjamin Bratt) in 2013. However, Walsh delivered surprising news in a video shared on the official "Grey's Anatomy" Instagram account. She addressed fans to say she'll be back in Seattle for Season 18.  "Well, well, well, look who it is. Dr. Addison Montgomery is coming back to Grey-Sloan Memorial hospital, and I'm so excited to be home again," Walsh said. 

While she's kept herself busy with other projects over the years, Walsh has said she's frequently asked if she would ever consider a return to "Grey's Anatomy." Earlier this year, she told People she would "absolutely" return to the show. "If they could get it done, I'd be happy to come back," she said. "It definitely changed my life."