Drew, 40, exited the medical drama at the end of season 14 in 2018 after nine seasons. Her character, a trauma surgeon at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, shares a daughter with Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams), and many fans thought the two would end up together in the end.
However, during her last episode, April married Matthew (Justin Bruening) and quit her job at the hospital, much to both fans’ and Drew’s surprise.
“I was told that the show had too many characters and that they needed to downsize because they couldn’t service all of the characters effectively. They didn’t want any of us to be left in the background and not getting much of a story,” the Cruel Summer actress told The Hollywood Reporter in August 2018 of the exit. “[Showrunner] Krista Vernoff said that she felt like April had been through so much and had come out the other side and that she didn’t know what she could put her through again. It was really hard to hear that. But Krista had a lot of very complimentary things to say about the work that I had done — especially this past season — and that April was going to have her happy ending.”
“It was in the afternoon and I went back to my trailer and I did my crying and called my people. A whole bunch of people came into my trailer to give me hugs and cry with me and tell me they were so sad I was leaving,” the Everwood alum told THR at the time. “I was supposed to be shadowing Kevin this whole episode with the hope that I would get to direct an episode of Grey’s but [after being let go] it seemed like wasn’t a possibility anymore.”
The news that she will return comes one day after Grey’s Anatomy‘s midseason premiere, which saw the death of Andrew DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti). Season 17 has also featured the return of Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) and George O’Malley (T.R. Knight), two characters who died earlier in the series. Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) reunited with both men on the beach via her COVID dreams.
Grey’s Anatomy airs on ABC Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET.