Sarah Drew's Statement About Leaving 'Grey's Anatomy' Reveals That She's Just As Shocked As Fans
If a Grey's Anatomy fan near you suddenly burst into tears on Thursday afternoon, there is an explanation. It was announced that Sarah Drew and Jessica Capshaw would be exiting the show, bringing the storylines of iconic Grey Sloan doctors April and Arizona, respectively, to an end. Sarah Drew issued a statement on her Grey's Anatomy exit shortly after Deadline broke the news.
In the statement, posted on Twitter, she thanked her fans for all the love and noted that she had only had the information "for less than 48 hours" before headlines hit. Deadline reports that the decision was made by producers who chose not to renew the contracts of Capshaw and Drew, and that they would be the only two main characters on Grey's to leave the show next year. Deadline's sources claim that the departure was due to a "creative direction," and co-showrunner Krista Vernoff seemed to echo those sentiments in her statement.
"The characters of Arizona and April are permanently woven into the fabric of Grey’s Anatomy thanks to the extraordinary work of Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew,” Vernoff said in a statement to Deadline. “As writers, our job is to follow the stories where they want to go and sometimes that means saying goodbye to characters we love. It has been a joy and a privilege to work with these phenomenally talented actresses.”
Drew said that while she is sad about April's story coming to a close sooner than expected, she assured fans that she isn't done yet. "The really good news (for me, at least) is that I'm here on set shadowing one of my favorite people, Kevin McKidd [Owen Hunt], with my beloved Grey's family all this week and next," she wrote. "So I get to process all of my feelings surrounded by the community that has nourished and nurtured me for almost a decade."
Needless to say, fans are upset about Arizona and April's departures, and though most trust Shonda Rhimes and her team to make the best decisions for the show, it does seem odd that these were the characters chosen to leave. April's faith and the reconciliation between that and her scientific career has been a compelling plot point from the get-go, and what about April and Jackson's romance?! I can't be the only one who's been holding out for them to get together again — their story has been one of the most emotional arcs in recent seasons, and Drew's performance throughout was phenomenal. Plus, Jackson shows no signs of exiting the show, and considering he shares a child with April, it'll be interesting to see how the writers handle that conflict.
The children of the main characters are already rarely seen, and that makes sense given that toddlers aren't allowed to roam the hospital on the regular. And sharing a child with someone who is no longer in Seattle isn't unprecedented — Arizona herself did it when Sara Ramirez left the show and her character Callie moved to the East Coast. But Callie took Sophia with her, giving the show an excuse for her absence. With everything Jackson and April have gone through in the past — including Jackson's accusations that April abandoned him while he processed the death of their first child — I can't imagine any scenario in which Jackson is OK with April taking their daughter and moving. This is not to mention the wrath that would befall April at the hands of Catherine Avery, who is prepared at all times to move heaven and earth to ensure Jackson has access to Harriet.
There's really not any clear way that this will make sense in the grand scheme of things, and, some have even said that there is arguably dead weight in other aspects of the show that should be cut before Arizona and April. "I can’t believe they’re getting rid of April and Arizona and yet ... DeLuca, Jo, most of those interns are still there. Why not them?" wrote one Reddit user, ceyric. Others mentioned April's character development, which was largely unmatched over the years. She transformed, not only in the hospital, but also in the eyes of fans, from a meek, self-conscious and timid intern who could easily be replaced into a fearless, complex and badass staple of the show. "April went from my absolute least favorite character to one of my favorites of all time," wrote ejb8705. "I am so, so sad to see her go. So much for Japril working out."
No matter how the showrunners decide to write Drew out, they have some serious ground to cover with heartbroken fans. Both April and Arizona have shouldered some of the most intriguing, nuanced and emotional storylines on Grey's Anatomy, and that's really saying something. Throughout all of it, the actresses have handled themselves with undeniable grace and talent, and that's how we can expect them to leave us as we mourn.