Sarah Drew Addresses ‘Painful’ Exit From ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ Admits She Saw Jackson & April as ‘Endgame’

ABC/Richard Cartwright

Get the tissues ready because former Grey’s Anatomy star Sarah Drew is spilling some emotional details about her exit from the series.

Drew is finally addressing her firing, after she and co-star Jessica Capshaw were both let go from the series this spring after nine years on the ABC medical drama. At the time, showrunners cited creative decisions for their departures.

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During her chat with The Hollywood Reporter, Drew is asked about the show’s decision to let her go, and she’s honest about her immediate emotional reaction. “[It] was painful when it happened, but, in retrospect, I think it would have been hard for me to walk away from that job. I was on it for nine years,” she recalls.

“It feels right and it feels like a good time to move on to something else with all the great love in my heart that I have for everybody and respect and gratitude for what that experience was. Playing a character for nine years is a long haul.”

So what were those creative decisions exactly? Drew details the way showrunner Krista Vernoff explained it, saying, “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.”

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The show has grown immensely since its 2005 debut, when the cast had far fewer series regulars than the most recent Season 14.

“Because there were so many series regulars, they needed to downsize and to find some characters that they felt like they could tie up their stories well,” she continues. “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.”

GREY'S ANATOMY - "All of Me" - Meredith Grey and the team of doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial are faced with life-or-death decisions on a daily basis. They seek comfort from one another, and, at times, more than just friendship. Together they discover that neither medicine nor relationships can be defined in black and white, on the season finale of "Grey's Anatomy," THURSDAY, MAY 17 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Eric McCandless) JESSE WILLIAMS, SARAH DREW

Jesse Williams as Jackson and Sarah Drew as April. (Photo: ABC/Eric McCandless)

But what Drew says later in her interview may be hard for “Japril” fans. The end of April’s story arc, although happy, wasn’t exactly what Drew had pictured. “In the midst of it, I was devastated that Jackson (Jesse Williams) and April wasn’t an endgame,” she admits.

“I thought Jackson and April were meant to get back together and they were going to get married again and realize they’d been crazy and it was just going to be this long, slow burn.”

Thankfully, April’s happy ending means she’s still alive in the Grey’s universe. Who knows, maybe when the series wraps one day, she’ll make one last appearance at Grey Sloan Memorial? Stranger things have happened.

Grey’s Anatomy, Season 15 Premiere, Thursday, September 27, 8/7c, ABC