You Probably Forgot This Former ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Star Was Also On ‘Glee’

On the surface, Glee and Grey’s Anatomy wouldn’t seem to have much in common, other than that both are/were very popular TV shows. However, the two programs do share a common thread. 

That common thread is Sarah Drew, who played Dr. April Kepner on Grey’s, starting in 2009. Right before that, she had a guest role on Glee, playing Rachel’s nemesis who said she had an esophagus transplant. But enough about Glee’s anatomy. 

Who is Sarah Drew?

Sarah Drew and Jesse Williams
Sarah Drew and Jesse Williams | Mitch Haaseth via Getty Images

Drew, 38, first got noticed when she was 17, playing another satiric teeenager Stacy Rowe on the animated MTV series Daria, a spinoff of Beavis and Butt-Head. On that earlier show, Daria had been an acerbic smart girl, a foil for the idiocy of the guys who wore called her “Diarrhea.” 

When Daria got her own show, one of her foils was Stacy, the secretary of the fashion club. After that show ended, she starred as Hannah Rogers on the WB drama Everwood from 2004 to 2006. 

Drew’s career accelerated in 2008, when she landed a guest role on Private Practice and caught the attention of Shonda Rhimes. 

The next year saw her Glee appearance, where she played Suzy Pepper in the season 1 episode called “Ballad.” Suzy and Lea Michele’s Rachel Berry where rivals for the misplaced affection for their teacher Mr. Schuester.

Suzy, who has a reputation as the “school crazy,” corners Rachel in a bathroom, saying to her “Let me tell you a few things I learned from two years of intense psychotherapy and an esophagus transplant.” 

Paging Dr. Kepner on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

Drew became even more familiar with medical procedures after Rhimes remembered her from Private Practice and cast her on Grey’s. Originally, her character was only scheduled to appear in two episodes, and Drew was stunned when her role was extended, as she explained in a 2010 interview.

“I knew from day one that my character was getting fired after two episodes. I did not expect anything beyond that. The morning my firing episode aired, my agent got a call that they were talking about a contract and I was just completely floored.”

Her neurosurgeon character was notable for being a 28-year-old virgin, due to her religious beliefs. She loses her virginity to Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams), which plays into her failing her Boards Exams. Much later, various traumas lead to her being known as “The Party” as she turns to sex to block out the pain. Her faith is reaffirmed after dealing with a terminally ill patient.

Why did Drew leave the show?

On the show, April marries Matthew (Justin Bruening), and she resigns from the hospital to provide medical care for the homeless in Seattle. In real life, Drew left the show last year, along with Jessica Capshaw, who played Arizona.

Rhimes said, “It’s always hard for me to say goodbye to any of my characters. Both Arizona Robbins and April Kepner are not only beloved but iconic — both the LBGTQ and devout Christian communities are underrepresented on TV.”

Drew was initially taken aback, and angry fans believed her and Capshaw’s departures were dictated by star Ellen Pompeo’s $20 million deal. In the Hollywood Reporter, Drew said she was told the show needed to downsize because they couldn’t serve all the characters effectively. 

“[Being let go] was painful when it happened, but, in retrospect, I think it would have been hard for me to walk away from that job. I was on it for nine years. It feels right and it feels like a good time to move on to something else with all the great love in my heart that I have for everybody and respect and gratitude for what that experience was,” she said. 

Drew and her husband married in 2002 and have two children. Her most recent credits are the Lifetime TV movie Christmas Pen Pals and the film Indivisible