As Grey’s Anatomy returns with “Japril”’s newborn daughter on Thursday, Sarah Drew is getting candid about her natural bond with her “pretend baby” and her “one big trick” for juggling work and motherhood.
The 35-year-old actress, who plays new mom Dr. April Kepner on the popular ABC medical drama, admits she can’t help but show her maternal instincts when working with her fictional daughter, whose name will be revealed in the season premiere.
“I’ve had experience with babies, so that helps. I tend to do a lot of ‘shush’ing and bouncing with my pretend baby!” the actress told ET at Celebrity Connected’s Luxury Gifting Suite Honoring the Emmys in Los Angeles on Saturday. “They’re a set of twins that I’m working with and they’re great.”
While her own kids are yet to meet her TV daughter, Drew admitted that juggling the Emmy-winning show with parenting can be a challenge.
She credits the series’ large cast for allowing her quality family time with her husband, Peter Lanfer, and their kids, 4-year-old son Micah and 1-year-old daughter Hannah. “What’s wonderful is that it’s such a great ensemble and there’s so many of us that I have episodes where I’m light, so I get tons of time with my kids, and then episodes where I’m heavier and don’t see them as much,” she said.
“There’s a really wonderful work/life balance,” Drew continued. “I can see them a ton, but then also go and do the work that I love to do. The one big trick is that you have to have a nanny who’s extremely flexible because our hours are really weird! We have the best nanny on the planet, who is, like, part of our family.”
As for her TV family with screen husband Jackson (played by Jesse Williams), Drew teases that “Japril” are in for some hurdles as they grapple with first-time parenthood while still dealing with their heartbreaking divorce last season.
“It’s an interesting start to parenthood for the two of them because they’re still trying to figure out who they are and they’re still divorced, but there’s this sweet baby that tenderizes every moment that they’re together,” Drew shared. “So it’s going to be an interesting journey to figure out will they or won't they wind up back together.”
Regardless of whether a baby will reunite one of Grey’s favorite couples, the newborn has undoubtedly shaken things up on set, with Drew saying the twins have brought new life to filming.
“There are definitely challenges to working with a baby because you have things that are scripted about how he’s supposed to be asleep or awake,” she said. “Then you get on set and have a two-hour window to work with the baby and sometimes he doesn’t want to sleep or doesn’t want to be calm! It adds a very intense, but fun element and keeps the scenes so alive because you’re constantly reacting, which is cool.”