Shonda Rhimes didn’t realize Bridgerton fans would miss Regé-Jean Page so much.

Rhimes told Vanity Fair said she was “really shocked” the fans had such a visceral reaction to Page leaving the show after the first season.

“I was really shocked because usually, that happens when I’ve killed off somebody that’s been around for a while,” she said. “Like, we didn’t kill him, he’s still alive! [Page] is a powerful, amazing actor and that meant we did our job–every season, our job is finding the right people and putting together this incredible, world-shifting romance.”

Page played the charming Duke of Hastings, Simon Basset, in the show’s first season. His character became married to Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dyvenor), the “diamond of the season,” after an initial ruse to pretend they were in love actually led to them falling in love and becoming attached.

Page decided to leave Bridgerton because his contract was only for one year. But he also decided to leave to field other movie acting opportunities that came as a result of his time on the show. When it was announced Page was leaving the show, fans rose up in outrage that the character they loved the most wouldn’t be a part of further seasons. Some even tweeted about whether continual support of Bridgerton was worth it if Page was no longer a part of the main cast.

The second season of Bridgerton is set to follow Daphne’s brother, Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) and his quest for love. Charithra Chandran and Simone Ashley have been cast as Edwina Sharma and Kate Sharma, two characters who are new to London for the upcoming season of balls and gatherings. In the series as in the books the series is based on, they become part of Anthony’s romantic storyline with Kate becoming Anthony’s love interest.