Sarah Drew is getting candid about her character, April Kepner’s shock departure from Grey’s Anatomy.
The 37-year-old actress and her co-star, Jessica Kapshaw (Arizona Robbins), were controversially written out of the medical drama and left the show at the conclusion of its 14th season in May.
The move saw April’s storyline wrap up as she tied the knot with her ex-fiance, Matthew Taylor (Justin Bruening), whom she previously left at the altar. The two are now starring in a new movie, Indivisible, together and while promoting the military drama, Drew admitted that she still felt her Grey’s exit was “a little out of the blue.”
“In the moment it felt rushed, to be perfectly honest,” she told ET’s Deidre Behar. “I felt like it wasn't really earned because we just didn't get enough time. We [had] like a scene together that whole season and hadn't seen each other for four years before that. I would've liked to have actually grown their relationship to a point where it felt earned for them to get married.”
“But in hindsight, I think there is something beautifully redemptive that goes along with April's return to faith and rebirth,” she continued. “The person that she hurt the most in her life was the man she left at the altar, and the redemption story comes full circle in the reconciliation between the two of them. Even in the darkest and the most painful of relationship experiences, there can still be healing and hope and love and joy, so there was something about that that I could totally get behind. I just wish we'd had a little more time to play it out.”
Bruening, 39, added that he had no say in his character’s rushed nuptials, but that the two discussed getting behind the decision.
“To me, it became very equal -- my [character’s] wife died, my baby almost died,” the Switched at Birth star explained. “He hadn't really been through any pain. He was left at the altar and all of a sudden, the feelings you had gone through in your life [and] the experiences -- his became equal and it came to a moment where it was like, ‘It can't get any worse, right? We can only go up from here.’”
“But I liked how it became very balanced -- what was happening at home and what was happening at the battlefront,” Bruening continued. “In that decision, it became almost a level playing ground. It's like, ‘Alright, let's just start over. We've been through pain, we've experienced very similar stuff, let's just try this again now that we are both there.’”
Drew admitted she hasn’t watched the latest season of the series, airing Thursdays on ABC, and was coy about whether she would have wanted April to reignite her romance with ex-husband and resident hunk, Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams) had she not married Matthew. “It’s tricky!”
However, Drew did note how despite the many hurdles April faced in life, from losing a baby to navigating divorce, she was lucky when it came to her choice of lovers.
“Life was not challenging -- it was challenging in many ways, but in the male department she was pretty lucky,” Drew said.
Off screen, she remains full of praise for both hunks, relishing the opportunity to reunite on screen with Bruening in Indivisible and gushing about Williams.
“We had such an incredible journey,” Drew told ET. “We went through as acting partners and as friends. Doing the kind of work that we had to do as acting partners bonds people. You just bond doing stuff that is that heart-wrenching and intense. We really cared about how our story was told. We rehearsed like crazy, and we talked to the writers and made adjustments and were always thinking ahead and making sense of everything. It felt really good that we could 100% lean on one another and trust one another.”
“When we were in those scenes together, we just knew that the other one would lift the other one up,” she continued. “Multiple times, I would be like, 'Hey, Remind me why I'm so mad at you? Because I can't get it' And he'd be like, 'This is why you're mad at me. You're mad at me because of this and this and this, GO DO IT!' We would help elevate one another's performances, so it was sweet, and it was a really special working relationship. I love that guy.”
As for the question on all Grey’s fans' lips -- whether she would ever return to the hit series -- Drew sounded doubtful.
“I'll never say never because they are my family. I still love everyone over there,” she said. “I love that community and I still have such an incredible space in my heart for everyone over there, but I really do feel like, because of how it went down, I really had to part ways with April. I just had to. There was no way for me to live in a space of possibility of her returning and also be healthy in my letting go of all of it, so I really have said goodbye to her.”
“I've loved her, and I've said thank you to her and I've enjoyed my journey being with her. She feels like an appendage. She's a person -- a real person in my life. It's a long time to embody someone nine months out of the year and I really had to say goodbye to her, so I think saying hello again would be hard but again, I'll never say never.”
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