10 Things You Didn’t Know About Sarah DrewPublished on September 29, 2016. Updated March 16, 2018
Sarah Drew is at the peak of her career right now as she comes off the success of her character Dr. April Kepner on the popular Shondaland series, Grey’s Anatomy and heads into a lead role on the anticipated reboot of Cagney & Lacey. Drew joined Grey’s back in 2009, and since then has been promoted into a series regular role. She’s become one of TV’s most popular leading ladies and has even gone on to work in other big projects like Supernatural, Miami Medical and the film, Mom’s Night Out. Aside from being a talented actress, there is so much more to know about her so we’ve pulled together a list of 10 things you might not have known about Sarah Drew!
10. Getting The Role of April Kepner
In an interview with Glamour, Sarah revealed that she never had to audition for her character on Grey’s Anatomy! She was basically given an automatic “in” because she had previously worked with Shonda Rhimes on another show, a spin-off from Grey’s called Private Practice. She had a two episode appearance as a character named Judy. She also worked with Shonda on a pilot that never got picked up. “I actually didn’t have to audition. I had just worked with Shonda on a pilot that didn’t get picked up and they wanted to bring me on for a two-episode guest star appearance on Greys the season before. It was for the role of a patient, but it just didn’t work out for scheduling reasons,” she said. Drew also revealed that her role on Grey’s was only supposed to be a two episode guest starring appearance, but she did such a great job that they wrote her in as a series regular. “She was supposed to be a two-episode guest star. I knew the plan was for her to be fired when I got the job, but shortly after those episodes aired, my agent called and said, ‘They want to bring you back, and it might be for a series regular.’ That’s how that happened!”©ABC / Courtesy Everett Collection
9. She’s Religious
One of the things Sarah loves the most about playing April is the fact that she’s Christian because Drew herself is a Christian. She was excited to play April because her character doesn’t feed into the stereotypes usually associated with Christianity, but rather her story is more authentic. According to Drew, her on-screen character wasn’t initially supposed to be religious. Once they met Sarah Drew they were inspired to turn April into a Christian. She uses her faith the same way many people do, to help guide her through life and find support. One of her biggest struggles is with her success as an actress and staying grounded and true to herself. “I ask God to remind me what I’m doing here on this planet. For Him to take the chains off and remind me that my identity is not based on how many awards I win or positive reviews I receive. I’m already made as a masterpiece by the Creator of the universe. That is my hardest thing and I think that anybody would find that struggle in any profession,” she said.
8. Her Father Helped Write a Scene in Grey’s
Since Drew’s life is a little reflective of her characters, Shonda Rhimes has welcomed her input into what they should do with the character. At one point in the show, April goes to premarital counselling with Matthew and Drew’s father actually offered them a lot of insight into how to write that scene! In an interview with Paste magazine, Drew recounts that experience: “My dad is a minister and they called me when they were writing the scene where April and Matthew were going to premarital counseling. They wanted to know what my take was on it. We have people in the writing room that are Catholic, but they’re writing April more as a Protestant, so they wanted to know what some specifics might be. And I said, ‘The last time I was in premarital counseling was 12 years ago, but my Dad does it every year, so give him a call.’ So they called and talked to him, and specific things that he said to them wound up in the script. It was so cool,” she said.
7. How She Met Peter Lanfer
Sarah met her husband, Peter Lanfer, while they were both working at a camp. Peter is a professor of Jewish studies at Dartmouth College. As an Ivy League graduate and professor, it’s safe to say she married someone who’s really smart! She married Peter in 2002. Drew said while it was love at first sight for Peter, but it wasn’t exactly the same for her. She also revealed the really cute thing he did for her to win her affection! “For him it was [love at first sight]. For me, we were leading a camp together and I was very focused on the kids. I had been burned twice by guys, so I was wounded and not interested in guys at all. He pursued me with handwritten letters for like eight months. It was incredibly romantic and old fashioned. I fell in love with him through the letters,” said Drew. They still write these kind of love letters to one another from time to time, especially on holidays like Valentine’s Day and birthdays.
6. Pregnancy Complications
In December 2014, Sarah Drew welcomed her second child, a daughter, Hannah Mali Rose. Unfortunately, she came a little earlier than expected! It was three weeks before her due date when Drew started experiencing some contractions. “I was in total denial that it was happening,” she told People. “All of the baby stuff was in boxes in the basement and there was nothing prepared.” Luckily, Hannah was born without any complications, but she did have to spend 11 days in the neonatal intensive care unit to make sure she was okay. “Her lungs were not totally ready to be outside of the womb [which led to] infection, plus she had issues with blood sugar because I had gestational diabetes. It’s the worst thing in the world because you go into the hospital and you expect to leave with your baby. We didn’t know how long she would have to be there,” Drew said.
5. Filming April’s Birth Scene
What’s weird about it all was that she ended up giving birth just hours after she filmed her character’s birth scene on Grey’s Anatomy! “It was a long 10-hour work day of doing the labor and delivery scene on the show. And, I went home, it was 8 PM and at 6 AM, I woke up with a really intense contraction three-and-a-half weeks early, so didn’t think I was in labor. I just sort of thought maybe it was Braxton Hicks or whatever…I was sure that I was crying wolf. I mean, up until the point that I was fully admitted, had the IV in my arms, I’m still saying to my husband, ‘My doctors gonna come in and say, ‘Go home and come [back] when you’re really in labor,'” she said in an interview with Access Hollywood Live. She wasn’t technically supposed to be on maternity leave until January and she still had scenes to film so two weeks after giving birth, Drew was back on set. Mirroring real life, her TV baby was also born with complications. “Having just been through something so emotionally difficult on the show almost prepared me, prepared my body in a weird way to go through what I had to go through with Hannah in the NICU. It was so strange and I never would have thought that would be the case, but my body kind of had gone through this trauma and then I was faced with something hard and I was equipped for it,” she said.
4. Famous Second Cousin
Sarah Drew’s second cousin is none other than Ben McKenzie from The O.C. and Gotham! In an interview with Glamour, McKenzie talked about being related to the Grey’s Anatomy star. “She’s such a great girl. I see her and her husband, Peter, and their little one, Micah, a bit. I haven’t seen them in a while because I’m shooting, but she’s pregnant again, which is great,” he said. It would be awesome to see these two collaborate on-screen!Broadimage/REX/Shutterstock
3. The Struggles of Being a First Time Mom
In an interview with People, Sarah Drew opened up about her first pregnancy and admitted that she wasn’t able to enjoy the experience as much as she did for her second time around with her daughter. When Micah Emmanuel was born in 2012, Drew had a hard time settling into her role as a new mother. “I was mourning the end of a massive chapter in my life…I knew I’d have to sacrifice a lot more than I was used to sacrificing, but I didn’t know how it was going to look and I didn’t know if I was going to be a good mom,” she said. “I had the worst time trying to breastfeed and it took me a really long time to bond with my son because of it. I have these memories of bouncing on a ball and him screaming at me and me sobbing hysterically trying to get him to latch. [It’s] the hardest job on the planet. There’s no measure of success. There are no annual promotions.” Drew said she’s doing much better now, especially with her daughter Hannah because she’s much more confident in herself as a mother.
2. Waiting for Marriage
Sarah Drew has a lot of similarities with her on-screen Grey’s Anatomy character, Dr. April Kepner. Not only is she religious like her character, but she also waited for marriage before losing her virginity. She hasn’t spoken outright about it, but she did allude to it in an interview when she said: “For April, the first thing that was revealed was she was a virgin. I waited until I was married to have sex so I understood April’s motivations. The writers thought it would be really cool and an interesting story to tell that isn’t seen too often.” The first time she revealed it publicly was when a viewer tweeted to her, “@SarahDrewGreys Are you as religious as April. How old were u when you first lost your virginity lol?” and Drew replied with, “I waited till marriage.”
1. Dark Times in Life
During an interview with Glamour back in 2014, Drew got surprisingly candid about her marriage and revealed that at one point in her life, things were so bad she almost walked away. “Here’s a big risk: Staying with my husband during the blackest time in our marriage. Several years into our marriage, I wanted to walk away and I didn’t. My dad said that even if it feels hopeless, it doesn’t mean that it is hopeless,” she said. Drew revealed that counseling is what saved her relationship. “Walking through the pain of that period of time and getting to the other side of it, I didn’t know a partnership like that existed. You have the honeymoon phase and then the figuring out marriage together, living together and playing house, and then it’s hard. It wasn’t actually anything that either of us had done, and it wasn’t a moment of betrayal…It was just being in a relationship, not knowing how to communicate and how to have a partner. So I’m feeling unloved and he’s feeling unloved and it’s just sad. Counseling was amazing, but I didn’t know how loved I was until after my marriage had gone through its darkest time.”REX/Broadimage