Sarah Drew opened up about being let go of Grey's Anatomy for the first time since her final episode aired in May, as well as of the confidence being nominated for her first Emmy helped her move her career in another direction.
The actress, who played Dr. April Kepner on the ABC medical drama, along with co-star Jessica Capshaw were written out of the show at the end of season 14, with news first breaking of the sudden exits in March.
Before being fired from the series, however, Drew had the opportunity to direct a Grey's Anatomy short form spinoff series, B-Team, focused on the hospital's new intern class. The web series was nominated for a 2018 Emmy, which gave her the confidence boost she needed to pursue jobs other than acting.
"My confidence had gotten a bit shaken in the wake of being let go and the nomination after the fact made me go, 'I don't need to be worried about anything or have my confidence shaken,'" Drew told The Hollywood Reporter. "I'm not only pursuing my career as an actor but I'm now also walking into this world as a director and as a producer and the world is so wide open."
"The nomination in the midst of walking out into the world and feeling like I'm engaging in this beautiful rebirth was more affirmation that this is a good space in my life right now," she added, "that I don't need to be sad and I don't need to be mourning and I don't need to be in grief over the end of something that was so beautiful. I can just rise from the ashes in a more brilliant way."
Drew revealed that she found out about leaving Grey's on a day she was supposed to shadow star and habitual Grey's director Kevin McKidd, and pushed her emotions about the news aside to take advantage of the opportunity.
"I had nothing to be ashamed of and didn't need to hide," Drew said. "So that's what I did: I showed up the next morning at 6 a.m. and shadowed Kevin until I got cast as Cagney and had to leave to go shoot CBS' Cagney and Lacey."
Despite the sudden exit for her character, which saw April marry her once-fiance Matthew Taylor (Justin Bruening), Drew had nothing but kind words to say about the Grey's family she left behind.
"I got to work with an incredible community of people that I will have lifelong friendships with. I got to build a platform and have my children in an environment where I was cared for because of who Shonda (Rhimes) is and how she takes care of her mamas and her women,"Drew said. "It's hard for me to come up with anything I could be angry about."
As far as returning to the series in the future, Drew said "maybe" both as an actor and a director, meaning there is always hope.
And will she keep watching Grey's now that she's not on the show?0comments
"There is something about watching your family go on without you that's a bit painful," Drew admitted. "I'm not sure I need to put myself through that. I love them and I'm sure it's going to be a great season but I think it might be challenging for me to tune in."
Grey's Anatomy will return for its 15th season with a two-hour season premiere Thursday, Sept. 27 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.