Sarah Drew, 37, was just as shocked as us when Grey’s Anatomy cut her from the cast in March, along with Jessica Capshaw, 42. She was no side character. Sarah played April Kepner for a whopping nine years, joining the show in Season 6. We rode passenger side on the roller coaster that was April’s time on the ABC drama: the hospital shooting, her marriage to Jackson Avery and then later Matthew Taylor, the death of her baby boy…the list goes on. Six months after being let go, Sarah opened up about what seemed like a sudden departure. “In a way, you almost feel like you’re attending your own funeral. Weirdly. But in a really beautiful way,” the actress said at BAFTA’s pre-Emmys party on Sept. 15 to Vulture. The show’s star, Ellen Pompeo, 48, said similar morbid sentiments, when she EXCLUSIVELY told HollywoodLife that Sarah and Jessica’s exits were “like a death” on May 10.
“I think that in being let go, the outcry of support from fans, from my cast, from my crew, was so extraordinary. I talk about it as being love bombed.” Sarah continued to say at the party. “It’s like when you’re let go before something ends and when it’s not your choice, people come up and tell you why they love you and how much they love you and what you meant to them.” Although Sarah said it herself — her firing wasn’t her choice — the actress has been optimistic. She added, “There’s been so many silver linings. Nine years playing one character, it’s a long time! I am so excited to spread my wings and be somebody else for a time.” Sarah is the leading lady in the upcoming war drama Indivisible. And you won’t believe it — Justin Bruening, 38, is her co-star and movie husband. Yes, right after playing her small screen hubby, Matthew, on Grey’s Anatomy!
As for why Sarah and Jessica were let go ahead of Season 15, Grey’s Anatomy Executive Producer Krista Vernoff provided some insight in her statement about the decision: “The characters of Arizona and April are permanently woven into the fabric of Grey’s Anatomy thanks to the extraordinary work of Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew,” she wrote. “As writers, our job is to follow the stories where they want to go and sometimes that means saying goodbye to characters we love. It has been a joy and a privilege to work with these phenomenally talented actresses.” This lined up with what sources claimed, which is that their exits were “based strictly on the show’s creative direction,” our sister website Deadline reported on March. 8.
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My nine years on Grey’s Anatomy has forever shaped and changed me. I grew as an actor and as a human. I developed beautiful life long friendships. I found my voice and learned how to collaborate creatively with our incredibly talented group of writers and with our leadership. Our writers are simply extraordinary. This past year, I began my journey as a director and had the privilege of being taught by Chandra Wilson, Kevin McKidd and Debbie Allen. I was able to grow my family and have my two beautiful children while working in an environment that took great care of me thanks to Shonda Rhimes and the precedent she set. And I got to be a part of a show that continues to push boundaries, inspire people to pursue their dreams, find strength in hardship, and fight for what they believe in. What an honor and a privilege to have had the chance to be a part of this extraordinary family.
Sarah’s interview with Vulture weren’t her first words about the firing. She bid Grey’s Anatomy fans farewell in an emotional Instagram post on May 17. “Hey guys. Thank you for all of the love. I know you’re sad. I’m sad too. I haven’t really had the time to process this information,” she began her message. “I’ve been with it for less than 48 hours, so I’m not ready to say my thank yous and give an all encompassing statement about my 9 years here. That will come later 🙂 For now, I’d like to say: I love you, and I love April, and her story isn’t over yet.” You can read the rest of the caption above.