Sarah Drew on 'Grey's Anatomy' Possibly Ending and If She'd Ever Return to the Show (Exclusive)
By Paige Gawley
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Sarah Drew isn't ruling out a return to Grey's Anatomy. The 40-year-old actress recently told ET's Katie Krause that, while she hasn't been asked back to the ABC series, a comeback is never out of the question. Drew played Dr. April Kepner on Grey's for nine years, before she was written off the show in 2018.
"That's a hard question to answer because nobody has asked me to come back, so I can't answer that," she said of potentially making a Grey's appearance. "All I will say is that I love my family over there, so I would never say no to the possibility, but it has not presented itself."
Throughout her time on the show, Drew's character was in an on-and-off relationship with Dr. Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams), and the pair eventually had a daughter together. While Drew notes that all plot points are in the writers' hands, she knows where she would've liked to see April and Jackson end up.
"If it were up to me, they would have been the end game," she said. "That's if it were up to me, but, you know, it's not up to me."
As for Grey's star Ellen Pompeo's recent reveal that the show's upcoming 17th season could be its last, Drew said she has "not spent much time thinking" about the end of the series.
"I haven't been on the show for two years. I am living my life in other places and very happily," she said. "I loved my time there and I am happy to be where I am right now. For the sake of my friends, who I love so much, I am sure it would be great if they had more seasons on the show."
Though a future appearance on Grey's is uncertain, Drew noted that the show is "always going to be a really important piece of my life and career, and a really beautiful point of reference for fans."
"I love that I will always be on Grey's," she said. "... I love that my character brought so much laughter and joy and tears and drama, and made people think and wrestle with big questions... It's beautiful to have had the chance... to participate in something that is so well loved, so far reaching and so evergreen. It's a privilege. It really is."
Though Drew kept busy working after her Grey's exit, that didn't remain true this year due to COVID-19. Despite the challenges of quarantine, Drew and her family -- husband Peter Lanfer and children Micha, 8, and Hannah, 5 -- have relished this time together.
"We've had so much time with the kids," she said. "My son has developed a great love of filmmaking. We've made tons of movies. I bought a green screen. My agent actually got [us] a little steady cam and a boom mic. We shot an abridged version of The Greatest Showman with the neighborhood kids. That's our project that we've been doing for the last six weeks."
"It's actually been a really amazing time," Drew continued. "As crazy as it is, we've been able to really find the beauty in the simplifying of everything, without forgetting about how intense everything is and how privileged I am to not be in dire straits for not working for a year."
While the additional family time has been appreciated, Drew has continued to struggle with "intense anxiety" throughout the pandemic, something she's dealt with throughout her entire adult life.
"I had a really rough couple weeks when I woke up in a panic attack almost every single morning," she shared, before revealing that a mix of yoga, medication, prayer, and fresh air help her cope.
"It took me a while to actually seek help because I really used to think it was some sort of failure on my part to need help, that I couldn't pray my way through it or find the courage and strength internally to figure it out," she said. "Now I look at those things as tools... Now I don't have any shame associated with that."
One thing that added to her anxiety this year was her 40th birthday, which she celebrated last month.
"I had a lot of anxiety leading up to it. I think there's, especially this industry that we're in, just fear swirling around as you get older as a woman. You don't feel that way when you're a man getting older in this industry, but as a woman you do," she explained. "I think that, combined with it being such a slow year and everything being at a standstill, I had a lot of anxiety walking into it."
Her husband helped with those feelings by secretly putting together a thoughtful gift of memories, photos and videos from loved ones in her life.
As for the career fears, Drew said she needn't have worried.
"I've been going in for so many really fantastic, multi-layered interesting characters, so I didn’t need to be afraid," she said, before describing her upcoming Freeform project Cruel Summer, which she is about to begin filming.
"The show focuses on these two teenage girls, Jeannette and Kate, and I pay Jeanette’s mom. It takes place on one day in 1993, 1994 and 1995, and things have changed each year dramatically for these girls," she said. "In each episode you flip back and forth between Jeanette’s perspective and Kate’s perspective. It’s a thriller, so you're trying to figure [it] out."
"Things shift dramatically and you get that in the first five seconds of the pilot. And you’re like... 'What happened that led these two girls into these three completely different planes of existence?'" Drew added. "And all the while... you’re diving into family dynamics and coming of age stuff and relational dynamics."
On top of Cruel Summer, Drew is gearing up for the release of her latest Hallmark film, Christmas in Vienna. The romantic holiday flick, Drew said, was simply "magical" to make.
"We got to go to Vienna when the whole world goes to Vienna, which is right at Christmastime. We were there in December, so it was already magically lit for Christmas with all the lights and the Christmas markets," she said. "We shot in Schonbrunn Palace, inside of the palace. We shot inside of St. Stephen's Cathedral, which was already decked out for Christmas."
"We got to literally just plop ourselves in the middle of this totally incredible wonderland," she continued. "We shot in the middle of actual crowds, like, actual tourists in those Christmas markets... It was truly magical in every way. I got to bring my husband to Vienna. We got to have this really beautiful and romantic time."