How Did ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Stars Sandra Oh and Kate Walsh Meet?

Lifelong friendships have begun on the set of Grey’s Anatomy. Many of the actors have remained close, even those who’ve left the series during its 17-season run. But stars Sandra Oh and Kate Walsh actually met on a different project years before Grey’s Anatomy premiered.

Sandra Oh and Kate Walsh starred in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

(L-R): Sandra Oh and Kate Walsh in 'Grey's Anatomy'
(L-R): Sandra Oh and Kate Walsh in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ | Randy Holmes/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Oh starred in Grey’s Anatomy from the show’s pilot episode. She portrayed Cristina Yang, an intern working with Meredith Grey. The two become fast friends, bonding over their dark sense of humor. They call one another “their person” and are there in the roughest times, from Burke leaving Cristina at the altar to the plane crash.

Walsh, meanwhile, first appeared in the season 1 finale. She played Addison Montgomery, the wife of Meredith’s on-again, off-again love interest, Derek Shepherd. They try to make their marriage work but ultimately divorced. Addison then moved to Los Angeles, beginning the spinoff Private Practice, which aired for six seasons.

They met years earlier filming ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’

Grey’s Anatomy premiered in 2005. Nearly two years earlier, in 2005, a movie starring Diane Lane debuted in theaters. Under the Tuscan Sun followed Lane’s character, Frances, as she travels to Tuscany after being gifted a trip by her best friend, Patti (Oh), and Patti’s partner, Grace (Walsh).

After working with director Audrey Wells on a previous project, 1999’s Guinevere, earlier in her career, Oh was cast in the film. But it was Under the Tuscan Sun and the Oscar-winning Sideways that helped land the actor her role in Grey’s Anatomy. “Network producers saw the film and called her in,” she told the Globe and Mail.

As for Walsh, her small role in the movie came after various recurring TV gigs. Grey’s Anatomy marked her first main cast member role in a series. On Oh’s birthday in July 2021, Walsh shared a gif from Under the Tuscan Sun. She tweeted, “Wishing the most wonderful of birthdays to this oh so talented and lovely lady, the great @IAmSandraOh.”

Could Oh or Walsh ever return to ‘Grey’s Anatomy’?

Since neither of their characters died, both Oh and Walsh could appear in future Grey’s Anatomy episodes. Addison’s storyline ended with her happy in LA at the end of Private Practice. And Cristina left Seattle to go work in Switzerland, though she’s made text “appearances” since.

However, Oh has repeatedly stated that she doesn’t plan to reprise her role in the medical drama. “I’m extremely grateful that you’re asking me that question because that means that people are still invested and interested in Cristina Yang, who is a character I left six years ago,” she told ET Canada. “There are so many new projects, and I’m a different person. So I’d have to say no [to reprising the role].”

Conversely, Walsh told People she’d “absolutely” portray Addison again. “If they could get it done, I’d be happy to come back,” she said in March 2021. “Maybe I’ll Zoom in. Dr. Addison could Zoom in.”

RELATED: ‘Grey’s Anatomy’: Why Sandra Oh Won’t Return as Cristina Yang, Even for the Series Finale