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Here's Why Sarah Drew Left Grey's Anatomy

For nine seasons, Dr. April Kepner kept fans of "Grey's Anatomy" on their toes as she tried to find her footing in love, faith, and her career path. Played by actor Sarah Drew, April is one of the rare characters who survived long enough for viewers to witness her growth over the course of the series. Although she started off as a doctor with low self-esteem who struggled to fit in, viewers got to watch as she gained confidence in all areas of her life. As time went on, she managed to earn the respect of her fellow surgeons and became one of the show's most interesting characters. April and Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams) are ranked among the show's best relationships, so it was pretty disappointing to see Drew leave the show after Season 14.

Plenty of actors have come and gone over the years on "Grey's Anatomy," though Drew made it clear that the character's sudden departure was out of her hands. "Thank you for all of the love. I know you're sad. I'm sad too. I haven't really had the time to process this information," the actor said in a statement on Twitter. She continued: "For now, I'd like to say: I love you, and I love April, and her story isn't over yet."

"Grey's Anatomy" is a show that has a history of behind-the-scenes drama, though the minds behind the medical drama offered some insight into the decision not to renew Drew's contract.

Sarah Drew's departure was based on a creative decision

At the time of her departure, there was speculation Sarah Drew was fired to support Ellen Pompeo's salary increase, though those rumors were quickly denied. Apparently, April was written off the show to help spice up the narrative with new storylines. In a statement, showrunner Krista Vernoff said, "As writers, our job is to follow the stories where they want to go, and sometimes that means saying goodbye to characters we love" (via The Hollywood Reporter). Vernoff further clarified the cause of Drew's exit on Twitter, writing, "The decision to make changes to our cast was a creative one."

Thankfully, viewers didn't say goodbye to April forever. While many unlucky doctors have been killed off, it was implied that April was still working as a doctor in Seattle after her last appearance as a main cast member. After her relationship with ex-fiancé Matthew (Justin Bruening) didn't work out, she agreed to move to Boston with Jackson. The fan-favorite couple returned for the show's 400th episode, revealing that April and Jackson have reunited since we last saw them. 

Drew was certainly right about one thing: there is plenty of room for April's story to continue. While Drew has weighed in on the possibility of a Japril spin-off, only time will tell if that idea becomes reality. Now that Pompeo is taking a step back from the series, it would be a great time for these iconic characters to make a comeback.