The announcement that stars Sarah Drew and Jessica Capshaw would leave Grey's Anatomy at the end of the show's 14th season shocked many fans of Shonda Rhimes' long-running medical drama. However, the person who was perhaps the most floored by the announcement was Drew herself.
Speaking out for the first time since Grey's exit in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Drew revealed the difficult way she learned of April's final episode as well as the reason she was let go in the first place.
"I was let go during an episode where I was shadowing Kevin McKidd [who stars as Owen and regularly directs episodes]," Drew told THR. "It was in the afternoon and I went back to my trailer and I did my crying and called my people. A whole bunch of people came into my trailer to give me hugs and cry with me and tell me they were so sad I was leaving."
While many fans on social media wrongly blamed Ellen Pompeo's impressive salary as the reason why both Drew and Capshaw were let go, Drew — who received an Emmy nomination this year for Grey's Anatomy digital series spin-off The B-Team — told THR that the decision was made from a storytelling perspective.
"I was told that the show had too many characters and that they needed to downsize because they couldn't service all of the characters effectively. They didn't want any of us to be left in the background and not getting much of a story," Drew explained to the outlet. "[Showrunner] Krista Vernoff said that she felt like April had been through so much and had come out the other side and that she didn't know what she could put her through again. It was really hard to hear that. But Krista had a lot of very complimentary things to say about the work that I had done — especially this past season — and that April was going to have her happy ending."
Drew first joined the series in 2009, during the show's sixth season. Though many fans regularly shipped the religious doctor with her now ex-husband Jackson (Jesse Williams), April's "happy ending" refers to her marriage to Matthew (Justin Bruening), whom she wed on a ferry in the final moments of season 14.
While fans may never see April again, Drew could return to Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital in an entirely new way. The TV star has not ruled out directing an episode of Grey's Anatomy, as she hoped she would in shadowing actor-director McKidd. Drew's name might end up attached to a new episode of the medical drama after all.