Meredith Grey is not about to let April and Arizona go without everyone knowing how much they mean to her.
Leading up to the controversial exits of actresses Jessica Capshaw and Sarah Drew in the Grey’s Anatomy Season 14 finale, Ellen Pompeo opened up about the cast’s “emotional” final episode.
“I mean, because everything is the last, right? It’s the last time they’ll do this, it’s the last time they’ll do that. It’s the last time they’ll rehearse and it’s really emotional,” Pompeo told ET during a recent NYC event. “We’re a family and they were both on the show [for] nine and 10 years. Grey’s is such an iconic show. Everybody who’s ever been on the show is meaningful to the show, right? Everybody’s meaningful to the fans.”
Pompeo did, however, admit she was shocked when she first found out the two had been fired.
“My first reaction was, ‘What? What do you mean? Why?’ And then you go through levels and stages of grief,” she said. “It’s hard for them, it’s hard for us, it’s hard for the writer who had to make the choice, [who] had to make the creative decision. You have to try to support the girls. It’s just not easy for anyone, but I don’t want to make it about me. It’s about them and I just tried to be just as supportive as I could be to everyone involved.”
The kind 48-year-old also assured viewers the two wouldn’t be removed from the series in any tragic or disturbing way.
“You only get killed off when your behavior is bad,” she said. “If you’re a nice actor, you die nice,” Pompeo said, going on to reference Sandra Oh’s Season 10 departure. “[She] left in the most amazing way. She gave everybody so much notice. She knew 10 seasons was all she wanted to do and they don’t get much classier than Sandra Oh. But yeah, these endings aren’t tragic.”
In March, ABC announced that Drew (Dr. April Kepner) and Capshaw (Dr. Arizona Robbins) would be leaving the mega-popular series. The stars have been on the show since Season 6 and Season 5, respectively.
“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. As writers, our job is to follow the stories where they want to go and sometimes that means saying goodbye to characters we love,” said Krista Vernoff, executive producer. “It has been a joy and a privilege to work with these phenomenally talented actresses.”
Drew and Capshaw both spoke out about the decision via Twitter.
“Hey guys. Thank you for all of the love,” Drew wrote. “I know you’re sad. I’m sad too. I haven’t really had the time to process this information. I’ve been with it for less than 48 hours, so I’m not ready to say my thank yous and give an all encompassing statement about my 9 years here. That will come later. For now, I’d like to say: I love you, and I love April, and her story isn’t over yet.”
“And the really good news (for me, at least) is that I’m here on set shadowing one of my favorite people, Kevin McKidd, with my beloved Grey’s family all this week and next,” she continued, “so I get to process all of my feelings surrounded by the community that has nourished and nurtured me for almost a decade. For that, I am so grateful.”
Capshaw’s message was just as gracious.
“For the past 10 years, I have had the rare privilege of not only playing Arizona Robbins, but also being madly in love with playing her,” she shared. “Arizona Robbins is kind, intelligent, funny, insightful, bold, playful, fierce and really good at her job. She was one of the first members of the LGBTQ community to be represented in a series regular role on network television. Her impact on the world is permanent and forever, forever. I am grateful that I have gotten to bring her to life and for the life that she has brought to me.”
“I am sad to see her go,” she added, “but I am consoled by the idea that she will continue to live on and on in all of our consciences and our imaginations. Shonda, thank you for the ride on this incredible rollercoaster. With a heart full of love, Jessica.”
Catch April and Arizona’s very last episode Thursday, May 17 on ABC.
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