Whatever Happened To Eric Dane?

Eric Dane took over our television screens in 2006, when he joined the cast of Grey's Anatomy as plastic surgeon Mark Sloan — better known to fans of the hit ABC show by his nickname, McSteamy. Sadly, Seattle Grace's resident hunk was killed off the show in one of the most heartbreaking moments on Grey's Anatomy, following a tragic plane crash. However, while the curtains might have closed on the beloved Grey's character that propelled him to major fame, Dane's star power has only been growing brighter.

Since leaving the ABC medical drama, Dane has been busy flexing his acting muscles and showcasing his range as a performer. In the years following his departure from Grey's, Dane has continued to grace the small screen, perhaps most notably as a troubled, secretive father on a risqué HBO series. 

In addition to professional projects, Dane has navigated both heartache and healing in his personal life. Here's a closer look at what Eric Dane is doing now. 

Eric Dane's lawyer insists it was "not a sex tape"

In 2009, while Eric Dane was still on the ever-popular series Grey's Anatomy as Mark Sloan, private footage of him, his wife, and another woman appeared on the Internet. Danes' lawyer, Marty Singer, released a statement warning people not to "exploit the tape" and announcing that no matter what you might think, it is officially, definitively, (philosophically?) "not a 'sex tape.'" 

The statement read, "This is simply a private, consensual moment involving a married couple, shot several years ago, which was never intended to be seen by the public. Although the participants are nude, the tape is not a 'sex tape.' It is a private tape made for only my clients' personal use, and nobody has the right to exploit it. If anyone exploits the tape, they will be violating my clients' rights and will be exposed to significant liability." 

Eric Dane was the only man in his house

Eric Dane and actress Rebecca Gayheart have two young daughters who can often be spotted on their dad's Instagram. Older sister Billie Beatrice was born in March 2010, as reported by People, and Georgia Geraldine was born soon afterward in December 2011.

When Dane appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live in February 2010, not long before his first daughter was born, Dane revealed that he and Gayheart had chosen a name for their child, but wanted to wait until the baby was born to commit to it. He explained, "Rebecca wants to wait to see her before we start calling her it," adding, "You want to make sure that the name sticks."

Host Jimmy Kimmel asked if he would opt for a regular baby name or "one of those crazy celebrity names," and Dane replied that his daughter's moniker would be "right down the middle."

The tragic demise of Eric Dane's Mark "McSteamy" Sloan

The finale of the eighth season of Grey's Anatomy featured an infamous plane crash that took away multiple main characters and one main character's leg. The fate of Eric Dane's character, cosmetic surgeon Mark Sloan, was unclear at the end of that season. But in the ninth season premiere, they officially pulled the plug on him, literally. 

Sloan gets taken off of life support and presumably goes to hot doctor heaven with his soulmate, Lexie Grey, who also (spoiler alert!) died in the plane crash. Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes even wrote an obituary for the character in Entertainment Weekly

She explained that "the end of Mark Sloan was a great loss for me as a writer and for the show," and noted that the character is survived by "his fellow doctors at Seattle Grace; and every woman who ever imagined what it might be like to have a little McSteamy between her sheets."

Eric Dane went from the OR to the ocean

Eric Dane's first starring TV role after appearing as Mark Sloan on Grey's Anatomy was on the TNT series The Last Ship. The cable show, which premiered in 2014, aired its fifth and final season in summer 2018. News that the show had been canceled was announced in May 2018, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.

In the show, Dane played Tom Chandler, the leader of a naval crew searching for the cure for a virus that has wiped out 80 percent of the population. Not a great situation, though arguably crazier stuff has happened to McSteamy. Dane's role in The Last Ship was announced just one month after he left Grey's Anatomy, so it was a quick turnaround. How did the roles compare? Dane told the Los Angeles Times, "This role is a lot more physical. My shirt stays on, but I feel like I'm in better shape."

Eric Dane received major military props

Eric Dane's TNT show The Last Ship is about the Navy... though it's also about an apocalyptic future where an illness has killed most of the people on Earth. Despite the liberties taken from reality, Dane apparently made the Navy proud in his starring role on the series. 

In 2016, the team behind the show The Last Ship was awarded the Distinguished Public Service Award, the highest civilian honor, by the Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, for "getting the Navy right," as reported by The Journal Gazette. In a post that has since been deleted, Dane showed off the certificate on Instagram, and wrote, "My life can be somewhat surreal at times."

Eric Dane took time to care for his mental health

In 2017, The Last Ship went on hiatus during the production of the fifth season so Eric Dane could manage his depression. At the time, his rep told Variety, "Eric asked for a break to deal with personal issues. He suffers from depression and has asked for a few weeks of downtime and the producers kindly granted that request. He looks forward to returning." 

Dane eventually returned to work and later revealed on Today that he began taking a medication and didn't feel depressed anymore. But he urged people to listen to their bodies and set an example that it's okay to take a breather when you're not well. 

And this wasn't his only health-related time off — in 2011 he did a short stint at a rehab facility to "get off pain medication that he was prescribed for a sports injury."

Eric Dane's not-so-thrilling thriller

In 2017, Eric Dane starred in the feature film Grey Lady about a Boston police officer who travels to Nantucket to solve the murder of his partner, played by his real-life wife (at the time) Rebecca Gayheart. "When Boston homicide detective James Doyle's partner is killed in an ambush, her dying words provide him with a clue that sends him to the remote island of Nantucket," the movie's description reads on IMDb. "There in the grey off-season when streets are empty, his hunt for the killer leads him to the heart of island where not even he can hide from the truth."

The film received mixed-to-negative reviews and has a 50 percent user score on Rotten Tomatoes. The Los Angeles Times critic Gary Goldstein wrote that it "aims for the gravity of such other Bay State-set mystery-thrillers as Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone, but barely scratches the surface of those far more elevated films."

Eric Dane got McSteamy in your freezer section

One of Eric Dane's post-Grey's Anatomy projects was a hot, steamy... Lean Cuisine commercial. Dane shared the ad on Instagram in summer 2017 and wrote, "Thank you for all the tremendous support... Let's celebrate with a commercial!" The commercial connected the McSteamy persona with the literal steam required to cook a frozen dinner in the microwave because, well... you get it. And it definitely did make cold broccoli seem sexier.

Eric Dane is spending valuable time with his family because of this tragedy

Eric Dane might have made a name for himself by portraying a playboy plastic surgeon on ABC's Grey's Anatomy. However, according to the actor, his real life is much more centered around his family. 

In a June 2014 interview with People, Dane opened up about the fallout that happened in 2009, after an inappropriate video featuring himself, another woman, and wife Rebecca Gayheart surfaced, as well as his 2011 rehab stint for a painkiller addiction. "We've all made mistakes," Dane admitted. He revealed the only concern he had regarding this rough patch was how it affected his wife. "My one regret is that I got the person I love most wrapped up in all that: Rebecca [Gayheart]," Dane told the publication. 

There's a reason family is at the center of Dane's world. According to the 2014 interview with People, Dane's father died when he was only 7 years old — a tragedy that continues to shape the actor's perspective on life and family. "I never had a family, and now I do," Dane told People. He continued, gushing, "I know I'm a very lucky guy."

Eric Dane may be single, ladies

Eric Dane and his wife, Rebecca Gayheart, started the proceedings to get a divorce in 2018. The Blast got their hands on the documents the actress filed in February 2018, which show she asked for joint legal and physical custody of the couple's two young daughters, Billie and Georgia. 

The two celebrities released a joint statement to E! News, revealing, "After 14 years together we have decided that ending our marriage is the best decision for our family. We will continue our friendship and work as a team to co-parent our two beautiful girls as they are the most important thing in the world to us. We kindly ask that you respect our privacy during this time as we navigate the next phase of our lives."

Eric Dane felt he had to give the people what they wanted

While Eric Dane's handsome doctor character Mark Sloan was only supposed to appear in one episode of Grey's Anatomy, he apparently made such an impression on fans that Shonda Rhimes decided to permanently add him to the show's cast. "From the moment ABC aired the scene in which Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) dubbed him McSteamy, I began to get letters from fans," Rhimes wrote in a 2012 "obituary" for Dane's character, published by Entertainment Weekly. She continued, "It was clear that we were going to need to see Mark Sloan back at Seattle Grace again."

As Dane revealed in an August 2019 interview with Glamour, his role on Grey's Anatomy spilled over into his real life, as fans assumed the man behind McSteamy was as promiscuous, flirtatious, and seductive as his character. And, according to Dane, he leaned into the public's perception. "I felt like I had an artistic obligation to not shy away from that part of the character," Dane told Glamour. He explained, "I think at the end of the day, you tend to give people what they're asking for, because it's the path of least resistance."

Eric Dane flexed his action muscles in The Fixer

Eric Dane played Dr. Mark Sloan on Grey's Anatomy from 2006 until 2012, when his character died following a plane crash. However, after seemingly disappearing from the public eye for a few years, Dane made his return to the silver screen in the 2015 mini-series The Fixer. In the four-hour FOX UK mini-series, Dane plays Carter, a mysterious man who informs investigator Ellie Molaro about the underground world of a group known as the "Fixers." Carter plans to take the bad guys down, and enlists the reluctant investigator's help in doing so. 

"[Dane and I] had a lot of stunts and it was us in every scene," Dane's co-star, Kathleen Robertson, revealed to Entertainment Focus. She continued, "It was long hours and lots of jumping in the water together, getting filthy, sweating and running around."

Luckily, Dane prepared for the physically taxing role by training rigorously. In a June 2014 interview, the actor told Wonderwall.com he'd been laying low in the months prior to shooting The Fixer, revealing, "I'll be playing a mercenary who works for a shadowy organization ... so it's good that I've been training!"

Eric Dane made the decision to change his image

While Eric Dane didn't mind the sexuality attached to his Grey's Anatomy character, he was itching to show his range once his time playing Dr. Mark Sloan on the hit ABC show came to an end. "I love that character; I just didn't want to play that guy for the rest of my life," Dane told Glamour in an August 2019 interview. The actor continued, explaining, "It's counterintuitive to what any actor wants to do with their career."

According to Dane, who is one of many Grey's Anatomy actors who are worth a lot, the darkness of Euphoria immediately sparked his interest, as portraying Cal Jacobs on the HBO drama would provide an opportunity to further shed his McSteamy skin while also tapping into some of his real-life experiences. 

"I understand what it's like to lead a double life," Dane told Glamour. He continued, revealing, "I've certainly had my struggles with alcoholism, drug addiction, mental health, and I know what it's like to have to put up a facade and have an external experience not match the internal experience." Added the actor, "I felt like that was my strongest asset in trying to articulate what [Cal's] going through."

Eric Dane is willing to do whatever it takes for his role in Euphoria

While it may center around high school students, HBO's Euphoria doesn't shy away from showing some darker aspects of the teenage experience — including statutory rape. In Euphoria's pilot episode, Eric Dane's character, Cal Jacobs — the strict father of troubled high school athlete Nate Jacobs — has sex with 17-year-old Jules Vaughn after the transgender girl lies to him about her age. As noted by Entertainment Weekly, the controversial scene featured full-frontal nudity and required the on-set presence of an intimacy expert. 

"Those scenes are very difficult to shoot," Dane revealed to Entertainment Weekly. He told the publication, "It helps to have ... somebody that is an advocate for the actors." Added Dane, "[It was] a pretty intense scene."

However, Dane didn't hesitate to bare it all for Euphoria. "I'm willing to do anything that's critical to the story and crucial to creating a very real and truthful feel to how the story is gonna go down," he told Entertainment Weekly. Dane continued, "The stakes are so high, you can't hold anything back, really."

Rebecca Gayheart and Eric Dane are taking their time with their divorce

Eric Dane's famous wife, Rebecca Gayheart, might have filed for divorce in February 2018 — but, according to court documents originally obtained by The Blast, the couple had yet to finalize their divorce as of June 2019. As reported by People, court documents filed to the couple outlined the steps that were required in order for Dane and Gayheart's divorce to become official. And, as People also noted, Judge Thomas Lewis threatened a possible dismissal of the case for "delay in prosecution" if Dane and Gayheart failed to follow up and provide the required documentation in a timely manner. 

As of January 2020, Dane and Gayheart still appear to be legally married. While both stars have remained fairly mum on the status of their relationship, Gayheart did take to Instagram to reveal she'd celebrated the new year with her estranged spouse, their two young daughters, and a group of pals.

"I was unsuccessful in getting a family photo so here are a few pics from our last day of 2019 and a few from today the first day of 2020," Gayheart captioned a photoset featuring Dane.

Eric Dane went glam for a good cause

From the resident hospital hunk on ABC's Grey's Anatomy to a troubled, secret-harboring family man on HBO's groundbreaking drama Euphoria, Eric Dane has played a number of impactful roles throughout his career. However, it's safe to say no television part has been as impactful or important as Dane's real-life role as a supporter of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation.

On Nov. 2, 2019, the Global Down Syndrome Foundation hosted the 11th annual "Be Beautiful, Be Yourself" fashion show, which is attended each year by major celebrities and serves as a fundraiser for the foundation's various programs, as noted by CBS 4 Denver. Dane dressed to the nines to attend the fashion show, and he was honored with the opportunity to walk alongside Megan Bombgaars — the 2019 recipient of the Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award.

"What an honor to walk alongside Megan Bomgaars at the 11th Annual Global Down Syndrome Foundation's Fashion Show," Dane gushed on Instagram, captioning a photo of himself and Bombgaars. The actor continued, "A beautiful night with exceptional people and advocates. Thank you for having me."