After this week’s heart-wrenching episode of Grey’s Anatomy, actress Sarah Drew – who announced earlier this season that she would be leaving the show after nine years – took to Instagram to share some behind-the-scenes photos from the penultimate episode. Drew, who plays Dr. April Kepner, will be leaving after next week’s season finale, but she has already started to say goodbye.
The most emotional photo featured Dr. Kepner’s other half, Dr. Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams). Makeup artist Ani Plotkin-Maloney took the photo that featured Jackson in April’s arms as she lays in her hospital bed.
The 37-year-old wrote in the caption that Williams “knocked the scene out of the park,” and it destroyed her just like it did to the audience.
“For me, this photo speaks volumes about our partnership. Jesse and I had some very trying stories to tell over the years, and there were many moments when we really needed to lean on each other to get through them. And we did,” she wrote.
Drew went on to explain that the scene – which featured Jackson praying over April – was one of those moments, and it was agonizing for her because she wanted to reach out to him and offer him support. But instead, she had to lie there and let him do his beautiful work alone.
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. ❤️❤️❤️
After he finished shooting his coverage, she finally got to reach out to hug him, and Plotkin-Maloney caught in on film. Drew says that her partnership with Williams on the show was sweet, collaborative, and challenging in the best way.
Both Williams and Drew also shared selfies together, and in his post he wrote the caption, “Please don’t go.”
The actress also shared a pic of her with co-stars Williams, Kelly McCreary, Caterina Scorsone, Kevin McKidd, and Jessica Capshaw. In the caption, she revealed that as she was looking at all of their beautiful faces smiling down at her, she was overcome with sadness about the reality of not being with them in the same place ever again.
First of all, Jesse knocked this scene completely out of the park. His performance destroyed me. Wow. Secondly, For me, this photo speaks volumes about our partnership. Jesse and I had some very trying stories to tell over the years and there were many moments when we really needed to lean on each other to get through them. And we did. To name a few: Samuel’s death, signing divorce papers, when Harriet was cut out of me (Jesse was on set to do the off camera phone call), when April tells Jackson she needs to move out because it’s just too hard. The scene right here where Jackson prays over April was one of those moments. It was agonizing for me, because I wanted so badly to reach out and offer him support in the scene- to let him lean on me – cuz that’s what we do for each other- but I had to just lie there unconscious letting him do his beautiful work alone. So, after he finished his coverage, I reached out to hug him and our makeup artist @lovveeani caught it on film. Our partnership on this show has been so sweet, so collaborative, so challenging (in the absolute BEST way). We got to tell stories that really matter, that have reached out and provided a safe space for people to love, laugh, mourn and grow. I will be forever grateful to my co-captain for the 9 years of friendship and for the opportunity to tell such beautiful stories together. Thank you, Jesse ❤️❤️❤️. Photocred @lovveeani
Capshaw (Dr. Arizona Robbins) will also be exiting at the end of this season, and both departures have left fans heartbroken. Capshaw shared a similar cast photo, and wrote, “Family. Respect. Love.”
Even though Drew is leaving Grey’s after nearly a decade, she will soon be back on TV because she has landed the lead role in the CBS reboot of Cagney & Lacey.
Sarah Drew and Jessica Capshaw’s final episode of Grey’s Anatomy will air Thursday on ABC.