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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 January 2007, 10:49 GMT
Grey's doctor receives treatment
Isaiah Washington
Washington plays Dr Burke in the Emmy Award-winning drama
Grey's Anatomy star Isaiah Washington has started counselling following the row over his use of a gay slur.

Washington said in a statement that the therapy was "a necessary step towards understanding why I did what I did and making sure it never happens again".

The star was involved in a scuffle with co-star Patrick Dempsey last October when he allegedly used a homophobic insult about cast member TR Knight.

Washington then angered TV bosses by repeating the word at an awards show.

ABC television declined to comment on a report that Washington had entered a residential facility and could miss filming on the Emmy Award-winning show.

Shock and dismay

As Washington went for counselling, Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes issued a statement which criticised the actor's outburst while praising his decision to seek help.

"I speak for all the executive producers here at Grey's Anatomy when I say that Isaiah Washington's use of such a disturbing word was a shocking and dismaying event," she said.

"We applaud and encourage Isaiah's realisation that he needs help."

Rhimes added that she had been working with the actor's family and ABC television to address the issue "in a way that underscores the gravity of the situation while giving us all a foundation for healing".

Washington, a father of three, used the term "faggot" about cast mate TR Knight during his on-set argument with co-star Dempsey.

Soon after, Knight publicly revealed he was gay and said he was upset at what Washington had said.

Washington reignited the controversy when he used the term again backstage at the Golden Globes as he denied ever uttering it. He later issued an apology after he was chastised by ABC.

He met with gay rights groups earlier this week to discuss ways of addressing homophobia.

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