Grey’s producers fired Drew and costar Jessica Capshaw in March, citing creative decisions. Drew had been playing Dr. April Kepner since the ABC drama’s sixth season season; Capshaw, 42, took on the role of Dr. Arizona Robbins in season 5.
Despite the shakeup, Drew received support from many — especially costar Kelly McCreary on the day after she received the upsetting news. Amid that day’s filming schedule, Drew had to run back to her trailer to read the scripts for four TV pilots for which she was being considered. (She eventually filmed a pilot for a new version of Cagney & Lacey, but CBS passed on the reboot in May.)
“It was an exciting and overwhelming moment because I was told that all of these shows were interested in testing me for lead roles. It was all happening so fast and so suddenly,” she recalls to Us. “Kelly came and found me in my trailer to see how I was doing, and I told her about all these scripts and how exciting and overwhelming it all was, and she started jumping up and down with such joyful delight for me, and then she grabbed me and gave me the biggest hug I think I’ve ever received from anyone. She was so relieved and so excited that in the midst of the pain of being let go, all of these exciting things were happening. She knew I was gonna be OK, and she was so happy for me. I felt such love and friendship from her in that moment. It was beautiful.”
Another touching moment came while filming the Season 14 scene in which April regains consciousness in the hospital after her car accident. When she wakes up, she finds herself surrounded by her fellow surgeons. “And after a few takes, it hit me that I was about to say goodbye to this family that I’d grown to love so much,” she notes. “The director said, ‘Cut’ and I caught Caterina [Scorsone] and Chandra [Wilson’s] eyes, and they knew the tears were coming, and they whisked me out into the breezeway, and the three of us had a good long cry. There were a lot of emotional goodbyes, but that moment stands out to me.”
As the medical drama heads into season 15 without her, Drew tells Us she still keeps in touch with some of her colleagues. “I love my cast and my crew and I miss them, although I really do see and talk to the folks I’m closest to,” she tells Us. “I don’t feel like they are gone from my life — I just miss the camaraderie of all being together working on the same thing together.”
In addition to the love and support from colleagues and fans, Drew got another morale boost when Grey’s Anatomy: B-Team got an Emmy nomination. The mother of two, who directed all six episodes of the web series, was scrolling through Twitter when she learned the happy news.
“I was completely blown away,” she says. “It was such an incredible surprise and such a testament to all of the hard work every single person put into the production of B-Team. We all worked our asses off to make a good series, and we were all really happy with how it came out. The Emmy nomination was just the cherry on top of a beautiful experience.”
Grey’s Anatomy season 15 premieres on ABC on Thursday, September 27, at 8 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Emily Longeretta
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