McDonald is leaving her role as Naomi in order to spend more time with her family, including her 10-year-old daughter Zoe. Although McDonald will no longer be a series regular, there is a chance she will return in a guest-starting capacity.
The acclaimed singing actress told TVline.com, "I have spent four amazing years working with the best cast and crew on television at 'Private Practice.' 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. I am beyond grateful to [series creator] Shonda Rhimes, ABC, and the team behind the show."
Rhimes added, "We are so appreciative of Audra and her talents and look forward to having her return to 'Private Practice' as often as possible. 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."
A four-time Tony Award winner for her work in A Raisin in the Sun, Master Class, Carousel and Ragtime, Audra McDonald was also seen on Broadway in 110 in the Shade, Henry IV and Marie Christine. The singer-actress made her solo Carnegie Hall concert debut in an evening of songs scored for big bands, performing several tunes from her Nonesuch CD "Happy Songs." McDonald's other solo recordings, "Way Back to Paradise" and "How Glory Goes," are also on the Nonesuch label. The acclaimed actress co-starred in the NBC series "Mister Sterling" and was recently seen in the WB series "Bedford Diaries." McDonald also made her Houston Grand Opera with a double bill of Send (who are you? I love you) and La Voix Humaine. McDonald can currently be seen in the ABC series "Private Practice."