The 37-year-old actress played fan-favorite Dr. April Kepner on the ABC medical drama for nine seasons, departing at the end of the 14th season with a heartwarming farewell. In July, Drew earned her first Emmy nomination as part of the creative team for making her directorial debut in the six-part Grey's digital series, Grey's Anatomy: B-Team.
Drew opened up about her feelings over leaving Grey's, now that she's had time to reflect.
"I'm someone that can't really sit in pain or hardship for too long without processing it into something beautiful and good, and what was wonderful about the aftermath of being let go from the show was that the outpouring of love was so extraordinary, the love was almost tangible," Drew told ET's Brice Sander at the Television Academy's Performers Peer Group Celebration at NeueHouse in Hollywood on Monday. "You could reach out and touch it, from the cast to the crew to the fans, to everybody."
"And so, I actually wouldn't have it any other way, you know? It was a kind of gorgeous and beautiful experience," she said. "And now I'm feeling so excited about the future, so yeah, I mean, yes. It was devastating in the moment, but I'm able to process that stuff and find the good in it, because I don't know how else to look at the world. I have to look at the world that way."
But could there be a chance that Drew returns to the hallways of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital in the future?
"Those conversations are not in the works, but I'm always going to say maybe for that," she said. "I really do feel like I said goodbye to her, and it was an epic farewell, a beautiful farewell, and I did feel like I closed the door on my life as April Kepner, but those people are my family, that community is my family, so I'm certainly not saying, 'No.'"
Drew is choosing to celebrate her nine-year run on Grey's through her Emmy nomination in the Outstanding Short Form Comedy or Drama Series category, explaining why the honor isn't bittersweet.
"I see it, actually, as only sweet. I'm in this new season of my life and starting this new chapter, and it's all very exciting and I have so much love in my heart for the whole Grey's Anatomy family, for what those nine years were for me," she said. "That getting the nomination after the fact, after saying goodbye, was actually just a burst and a rush of delight and excitement. And it's fun because I get to celebrate with all of my Grey's Anatomy family and Shondaland family, so it's great."
As for what's next for Drew, she's gearing up to release Indivisible, which she stars in and is the first movie she produced, on Oct. 26. Several familiar Grey's faces also appear in the film, such as Justin Bruening and Jason George.
"I'm headed out to Vancouver to shoot a very adorable holiday movie, and I'm really looking forward to that. That's going to be a lot of fun. I'm just looking forward to doing something delightful and positive and happy, and make people feel buoyed up and joyful," Drew shared. "And then I've actually been talking with several different producers and I'm kind of in early development stages for a few different series that I don't want to talk about yet, because it's all very early, beginning stages, but it's a very exciting time."
The 70th Emmy Awards, co-hosted by Saturday Night Live’s Colin Jost and Michael Che, will air live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Monday, Sept. 17, starting at 5 p.m. PT on NBC.