- A new book sheds light on the most controversial exits in “Grey’s Anatomy” history.
- Sarah Drew wrote Krista Vernoff a letter asking for April Kepner’s goodbye to make more sense.
- Drew “always wanted her to end up with Jackson, especially after they had their baby,” she said.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
“How to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey’s Anatomy,” a new, unauthorized book by Entertainment Weekly editor-at-large, Lynette Rice, gives fans a detailed oral history of the mega-hit medical drama, including behind-the-scenes secrets about some of its most controversial storylines.
While many of the series’ biggest stars declined to speak with Rice because, according to the book’s author’s note, they didn’t want to “piss off” creator Shonda Rhimes, actress Sarah Drew (who played Dr. April Kepner until 2018) did go on record to explain how hard she fought for April to have a different exit that she felt would be more satisfying to fans.
Deadline reported in March 2018 that Drew and her costar Jessica Capshaw (who played Dr. Arizona Robbins) were asked to leave the show by showrunner Krista Vernoff because of the show’s new “creative direction.”
“As writers, our job is to follow the stories where they want to go and sometimes that means saying goodbye to characters we love,” Vernoff’s statement at the time read, in part.
Drew’s final episode as a series regular sees her marry Matthew Taylor (Justin Bruening), who she’d previously left at the altar on “Grey’s Anatomy” season 10 for April’s longtime love interest, Dr. Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams). Drew’s April and Williams’ Jackson are a beloved pairing in the fandom, and many “Japril” fans couldn’t understand at the time why April’s exit had to split them apart so aggressively.
As it turns out, Drew didn’t understand it either.
“I always, always wanted her to end up with Jackson, especially after they had their baby,” Drew told Rice, admitting she was as confused by April’s ending as fans were.
April’s marriage to Matthew felt “rushed,” according to Drew. “I just didn’t believe it, because we hadn’t seen anything on-screen between [April and] Matthew in that final season,” the actress said, adding that she and Williams had “great chemistry” that was hard to replicate.
Drew said she felt so strongly about making April’s journey believable to fans that she implored Vernoff to change her character’s ending: “I even wrote a very passionate letter to Krista after I read that final episode saying ‘Can she just walk off? Like maybe kiss him and walk off into the distance doing something as an independent woman? Like, why does she need a man?'”
Ultimately, Drew came to understand the ending Vernoff wrote as a “lovely redemption story” for April after she humiliated Matthew.
Japril fans (and Drew) ultimately did get something closer to the resolution they were hoping for – and the set-up for a potential Japril spinoff worth watching.
Drew returned to the show at the end of season 17 to help facilitate Williams’ exit. During that appearance, April reveals she and Matthew are divorced, and she agrees to move to Boston with Jackson and their daughter to help change the world of medicine for minorities.
Representatives for Drew didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for further comment. Representatives for Vernoff and ABC declined to comment when reached by Insider.