Whatever happened to Eric Dane?

Eric Dane — better known as "McSteamy" from Grey's Anatomy – has been off the hit medical drama for years. But he hasn't quit show business to live on a private island with all the other actors whose Grey's characters dramatically kicked the bucket — or rather, got hit by a bus or electrocuted in a boiler room. He's overcome personal and medical issues, grown his family, and found new roles. Here's what Dane has been up to.

His lawyer insists it was "not a sex tape"

In 2009, while Dane was still on Grey's Anatomy, 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 reads: "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." 

Wow, it kind of makes you think. Like, what really is a sex tape, anyway?

The only man in the house

Dane and his soon-to-be ex-wife, actress Rebecca Gayheart, have two young daughters who can often be spotted on their dad's Instagram. Older sister Billie Beatrice was born in 2010, and Georgia Geraldine was born soon afterward in 2011. When Dane appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live before his first daughter was born, the host asked if he would opt for a regular baby name or "one of those crazy celebrity names," and Dane replied it would be "right down the middle" (via People).

The tragic demise of 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 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."

From the OR to the ocean

Danes' first starring TV role after Grey's Anatomy was on the TNT series The Last Ship. The cable show, which premiered in 2014 and aired its fourth season over the summer of 2017, will air its fifth and likely final season in summer 2018. 

Dane plays 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 his Grey's Anatomy character died, so it was a quick turnaround. How do the roles compare? Dane told The LA Times, "This role is a lot more physical. My shirt stays on, but I feel like I'm in better shape."

Major military props

The Last Ship is about the Navy…though it's also about an apocalyptic future where an illness has killed most people on Earth. Despite the liberties taken from reality, Dane apparently made the Navy proud in his starring role on the show. In 2016, the team behind the show was awarded the Distinguished Public Service Award, the highest civilian honor, by the Secretary of the Navy. Dane posted the certificate on Instagram and wrote, "My life can be somewhat surreal at times."

Taking time for mental health

In 2017, The Last Ship went on hiatus during the production of the fifth season so 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."

A not-so-thrilling thriller

In 2017, 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. 

The film received mixed-to-negative reviews and has a 51 percent user score on Rotten Tomatoes. LA 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."

Getting McSteamy in your freezer section

One of Dane's more recent projects is a hot, steamy … Lean Cuisine commercial. Dane posted the new ad on Instagram in summer 2017 and wrote, "Thank you for all the tremendous support… Let's celebrate with a commercial!" The commercial connects the McSteamy persona with the literal steam required to cook a frozen dinner in the microwave because, well…you get it. And it definitely does make cold broccoli seem sexier.

He's single, ladies

Dane and his wife, Rebecca Gayheart, are getting a divorce. The Blast got their hands on the documents Gayheart filed in February 2018, which show she's asking for joint legal and physical custody of the couple's two young daughters, 7-year-old Billie and 6-year-old Georgia. 

The two 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."