It's Been Nine Years, but Fans Still Aren't Over Naomi's 'Private Practice' Exit

Audra McDonald, who played Naomi Bennett in 'Private Practice,' left the series back in 2011, and fans want to know why. Find out here!

Samantha Faragalli Younghans - Author

Mar. 24 2020, Updated 3:59 p.m. ET

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If you're a fan of Grey's Anatomy, then it's almost inevitable that you loved watching the show's spinoff, Private Practice, from 2007 until 2013. Although the series has been off the air for nearly seven years, you can binge-watch all six seasons on Netflix. 

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Rewatching the medical drama has us thinking about all the beloved characters, specifically Naomi Bennett, who was played by Audra McDonald. But since she left the show after Season 4, there are questions as to why. Scroll down to find out!

Why did Naomi leave 'Private Practice'?

Back in 2011, actress Audra McDonald, who played Naomi Bennett on the show, revealed she'd be leaving the series to spend more time with family (her daughter Zoe was 10 years old at the time).

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 “I have spent four amazing years working with the best cast and crew on television at Private Practice,” she told “Though I am stepping away from the series as a regular in order to spend more time in New York with my family, I am not closing the door on Private Practice or the character, Naomi."

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She also shared her love for the show's creator, Shonda Rhimes. "I am beyond grateful to Shonda Rhimes, ABC, and the team behind the show," she said.

And the feeling was mutual. “We are so appreciative of Audra and her talents and look forward to having her return to Private Practice as often as possible," Shonda echoed. "Audra has been a bicoastal commuter throughout our four seasons on the air, and, ultimately, we respect and appreciate her desire to spend more time with family in New York."

Naomi Bennett was a fan-favorite character during her four seasons on the show due to her bright personality. She played a fertility specialist and a founding partner of Oceanside Wellness Center in LA. Her best friend was Addison Montogomery (Kate Walsh), who was Dr. Derek. 

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Shepherd's first wife in Grey's, and her husband is the practice's internist, Sam (Taye Diggs). The two had a teenage daughter named Maya (Geffri Maya). Years after Naomi and Sam divorced, they remarried and she got pregnant again.

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We started to see Naomi's character decline after her teenage daughter, Maya, got pregnant. Soon after the drama of whether or not she'd get an abortion, she has an argument with Addison, Sam, and Fife (her boyfriend) and says she no longer wants to be part of the practice. 

She also dumps Fife. But when she decides to take her niece Betsey, who is in foster care, home forever, Fife proposes to her and the three decide to move to New York to live normal lives. 

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Audra starred in Private Practice alongside Kate Walsh (Addison Montgomery), Tim Daly (Pete Wilder), Paul Adelstein (Cooper Freedman), KaDee Strickland (Charlotte King), Chris Lowell (William "Dell" Parker), Taye Diggs (Sam Bennett), Amy Brenneman (Violet Turner), Brian Benben (Sheldon Wallace), and Caterina Scorsone (Amelia Shepherd), who is now on Grey's Anatomy as a main character.

Last fall, some of the series' cast members, including Kate, Amy, KaDee, and Paul, reunited on Instagram, prompting fans to encourage them to execute a revival of the show. Although Grey's has lived on, there hasn't been any talk of Private Practice returning to the small screen.

Since Naomi appeared in the series finale, we have a feeling she'd do a revival as well. Here's hoping ABC orders a reboot really soon, because we'd love to see Naomi and the rest of the gang back in action! 

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