'Grey's Anatomy' Star Sarah Drew Addresses Ellen Pompeo Stepping Back from Series (Exclusive)

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Sarah Drew is in support of her Grey's Anatomy co-star, Ellen Pompeo's, decision to step back from the series after portraying Dr. Meredith Grey for almost two decades. ET's Deidre Behar spoke with Drew on Wednesday night on Variety's Power of Women red carpet and she had nothing but encouraging words when asked about Pompeo.

"I mean, she has been killing it for so many years, building that show up from the ground up," Drew said. "Of course she wants to go off and do other incredible things."

"I know that when I’m behind the camera and part of the creative process and producing and writing and directing, I am activated on all cylinders, on every level," she added of Pompeo, who will continue to work as an executive producer for season 19 of the medical drama, while only appearing in eight episodes. "And acting, you know, I get to dive into some piece of it, but getting to do all of the stuff it’s so exciting, it's such an exhilarating ride. So yeah, I wish her the best. I think it’s gonna be awesome."

ET learned in August that Pompeo would be scaling back on her Grey's role to work on a show for Hulu. The following month, she spoke to ET about how her Grey's character will always be there in spirit even if not onscreen. 

"It's still Grey's, she's still there in spirit and that's the house that Grey built, so she's always there," Pompeo said. "She just has to step away for a little bit to do a Hulu show. It's a great company to work for and I'm really, really lucky that they've given me the opportunity to do both, and so I had to take it."

In May, Pompeo told ET the series could continue without her, noting, "Trying to reinvent the show and continually trying to reinvent the show is the challenge at this point, and listen, the show speaks to a lot of people, and the young people love the show. It's inspired so many generations of healthcare workers. I think for the young people, it's a really good piece of content and we're going to try to keep it going for the young people, not necessarily with me, but keep it going beyond me."

As for what fans can expect from Drew's character, Dr. April Kepner, on the next season of the show, she told ET that her and Jesse Williams -- who plays Dr. Jackson Avery -- have discussed a spinoff following their kiss last season that had fans waiting for more. 

"You know, so many people ask me about a Japril spin-off and Jessie and I have both been very verbal about how much we would love to see something like that happen," she said. "We love working together, we love that relationship, and any opportunity to get to see them on screen together more I think you know. I think a lot of people would be happy about that, we'd be happy with that so we'll see."

Drew also spoke to ET on Wednesday about what it was like being in the presence of so many powerful women, and who she was looking most forward to hearing from.

"Oh, my goodness, there are so many people inspiring me to be better I am really forward to hearing from Hillary [Clinton] and Chelsea [Clinton]," she expressed.


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