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When the Season 15 trailer of Grey’s Anatomy premiered earlier this week (get the full breakdown here), two fan favourites were noticeably missing. After announcing in March that Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew were being let go from the medical drama, the Season 14 finale said goodbye to their beloved characters Arizona Robbins and April Kepner. Now Drew, who played April for nine seasons, is revealing how her castmates reacted to her departure. Thankfully, everyone on Grey’s Anatomy is much nicer in real life than their on-screen characters.

Speaking with US Weekly, Drew said that support from her castmates, especially Kelly McCreary, who plays Maggie Pierce, made her exit from the long-running series one that was full of love and friendship.

“It was an exciting and overwhelming moment because I was told that all of these shows were interested in testing me for lead roles. It was all happening so fast and so suddenly,” Drew told US. “Kelly came and found me in my trailer to see how I was doing, and I told her about all these scripts and how exciting and overwhelming it all was, and she started jumping up and down with such joyful delight for me, and then she grabbed me and gave me the biggest hug I think I’ve ever received from anyone. She was so relieved and so excited that in the midst of the pain of being let go, all of these exciting things were happening. She knew I was gonna be OK, and she was so happy for me. I felt such love and friendship from her in that moment. It was beautiful.”

Drew said that filming her final scenes as April also involved some surreal and moving moments with her castmates. In the final two episodes of Season 14, Drew’s character was involved in a car crash that looked like it was going to be fatal. Thankfully, April recovered and for once Grey’s didn’t put fans through the agony of watching yet another beloved character die. We’re still not over Derek.

“And after a few takes, it hit me that I was about to say goodbye to this family that I’d grown to love so much,” said Drew of the episode Cold As Ice. “The director said, ‘Cut’ and I caught Caterina [Scorsone] and Chandra [Wilson’s] eyes, and they knew the tears were coming, and they whisked me out into the breezeway, and the three of us had a good long cry. There were a lot of emotional goodbyes, but that moment stands out to me.”

Glad we’re not the only ones crying over Grey’s Anatomy.

 

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Here are some of my favorite people on the planet. While shooting this scene my heart was so full of joy and sadness at the same time that it was almost unbearable. As I was looking up at all of these beautiful faces, smiling down at me with so much love, happy to see April alive and well, I was overcome with sadness about the reality of not being with all of these people in the same place in the same way ever again. But, I was ALSO overcome with the joy of having had the opportunity in my life to know such gorgeous people whom I have loved, who have loved me so well for 9 years. During a break in the scene, I felt the tears coming and I looked over and made eye contact with Caterina and Chandra and they whisked me away and let me feel my feelings all over them. It was such a sweet moment of friendship. What I keep experiencing since the moment I was let go, is the tremendous joy that is present in the midst of my sorrow. It felt horrible to be asked to leave my family of 9 years, and I have experienced real, deep grief over it, BUT I have ALSO been so buoyed up by my cast, my crew, the fans, and my family in such extraordinary ways, that I wouldn’t trade any moment of it for the world. I keep describing my experience over the last two months as being “love-bombed” because between the conversations, the hugs, the letters, the tweets, the plane(!), that’s truly what I’ve felt. Love-bombed. In the wake of being let go, I’ve been overwhelmed with gratitude, and I’ve felt profoundly loved. I am so humbled and so thankful. Get ready for so many more pics and love notes next week. ❤️❤️❤️

A post shared by Sarah Drew (@thesarahdrew) on

Drew’s character April often got the short end of the stick on Grey’s Anatomy, from personal tragedies like losing her son, getting divorced and failing her boards, to all around crappy treatment by her peers. It’s nice to know that in an alternate dimension aka real life, April has great friends.

Fans were vocal about their anger when it was announced in March and Capshaw and Drew would not be returning to Grey’s Anatomy, with cast members and creator Shonda Rhimes having to address the departures on social media.

We’re definitely going to miss April and Arizona when the new season of Grey’s Anatomy premieres later this month, but at least we have the return of Teddy Altman and some hot new doctors to console us. We hear abs are good for absorbing tears.

 

The two-hour season premiere of Grey’s Anatomy airs Wednesday, September 26 at 9 p.m. ET on CTV and CTV GO.