Kate Walsh cried returning to Grey’s: ‘It’s an honor to be a part of such a legacy’

Kate Walsh reprised her role as Addison Montgomery on this season of Grey’s Anatomy after not appearing for a full 10 seasons. Her last appearance was in a “what if” dream episode (appropriately titled If/Then) in season 8, and her last appearance in the real timeline was during season 7. Addison returned this season for a medical case and it was her first time back at Seattle Grace/Mercy West/Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital since before Derek died. Reunions abounded with the ~four remaining characters/actors that knew her from her original stint on the show.

She’s back — again! Kate Walsh returned to Grey Sloan Memorial in season 18 of Grey’s Anatomy — and the entire experience was “very emotional” for her.

“It was just so surreal,” the Emily in Paris actress, 54, exclusively told Us Weekly while promoting her partnership with Alcon’s Systane Complete Preservative-Free Eye Drops, noting just how “grateful” she is to the series for launching her incredibly successful career. “It’s like going back home and going back to a job that changed my life in an amazing way so long ago.”

Walsh got her start in the Grey’s universe during season 1 of the medical drama in 2005, portraying neonatal surgeon Dr. Addison Montgomery. Two years later, she went on to star in her own spinoff, Private Practice, which ended in 2013 after six seasons. During her time on the spinoff, the 13 Reasons Why alum would make guest appearances in seasons 4 through 6 of Grey’s Anatomy. [Ed note: this is inaccurate, see intro.]

After Private Practice came to an end, “I was thinking, ‘OK I’m done,’” Walsh recalled to Us. When she returned to Grey’s seven years later, she had to change her mindset and get back into character. “‘OK, let’s go,’” she recalled thinking at the time.

On Wednesday, April 6, the Perks of Being a Wallflower star teased yet another return to Grey’s on TikTok. “I’m back in uniform and that can only mean one thing… #GreysAnatomy 😏,” she captioned the video, adding, “Coming your way Thursday, May 5th! 💋❤️.”

“It’s been really, really fun. It’s so nice to be back and to get to play some more with them,” she said. “And it’s a really great story. It’s a great medical story line, but also the great personal stuff. I was super excited to have some juicy scenes with Jim Pickens and Debbie Allen and everybody.”

One of those scenes from earlier this season, though more emotional than “juicy,” occurred when Addison and Dr. Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) talked about the loss of Dr. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) — Addison’s ex and the father of Meredith’s children — while in the elevator.

Addison cried over Derek’s death and how the hospital brought back memories of him. Meredith, for her part, invited her colleague to meet their children.

When asked if she genuinely sobbed during that scene, Walsh said her tears were legitimate.

[From Us Weekly]

Kate’s character really wasn’t on the show very long considering that it’s still going strong 15 seasons after she left and nine seasons after her Private Practice spinoff ended. It would have been too much to have her appear at, say, Derek’s funeral, because of the focus on Meredith’s grief. They also had to use a stand-in shot from behind for Sandra Oh, so it would have been weird if Addison got lines and Cristina didn’t. Anyway, Addison’s character was a fan favorite and it’s nice that they brought her back so she could reunite with Meredith, Webber, Bailey, and (ugh) Amelia. After all the original/long-running cast member departures and Meredith’s covid dreams last season, it’s nice to see a familiar face that isn’t a ghost.

What Kate says about returning to the show is sweet. It’s clear that she has a good relationship with Shondland and the cast and she’s grateful for the show that had such an impact on her career. It probably felt very nostalgic and surreal. Her elevator scene with Ellen Pompeo was great and was true to the unique relationship that Addison and Meredith had — which was complicated, but always respectful, and bonded through their connection to Derek. Kate will actually guest-star again on the May 5 episode, perhaps to finish the medical case, so hopefully there will be more interactions with her and the other OGs then. Also, I totally fell for an April Fools’ joke Deadline article that Shonda Rhimes was writing a Netflix rom-com for Kate Walsh and Patrick Dempsey. I’m disappointed it was just a joke!

Photos credit: Instar and via Instagram

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13 Responses to “Kate Walsh cried returning to Grey’s: ‘It’s an honor to be a part of such a legacy’”

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  1. Léna says:

    I really like her. She’s been in a few shows since Grey’s anatomy and good for her. I’ve been watching Grey’s Anatomy since the beginning but I’m starting to let it go… It’s so… predictable and annoying lol. Well, it’s been this way for years now, but in this day and age of television, there is so many better shows! They should have stopped years ago.

    • FHMom says:

      I like her as an actress, also. She’s consistently good in whatever role she plays. A big nope to Greys these days. I wish they would end it, but it stumbles on, a former shadow of its self. I loved it back when it was great, but it hasnt been great in years. I guess I still care enough about the characters, though, because I’m still watching.

    • AmyB says:

      @Lena and @FHMom I agree with both of you about Grey’s Anatomy now. LONG, long time fan. And I am still hanging in there watching 18 seasons later, but yes, it’s time to end this! I think the final straw for me was how they ruined Alex Karev’s character by having him up and leave (writing letters to Jo, Mer, Bailey and Webber) and go back to F**KING Izzy – WTF??? They basically ruined his entire character development, throughout the entire series with that bullshit. It was nice seeing some of OG characters in Meredith’s Covid dreams, but I am over it now. I like Kate Walsh too, and Addison is a great character for sure! But, all the people I really loved are gone. Yang is my ultimate favorite, but even more recently: Callie, April, Jackson, Arizona, Alex, DeLuca, Dr Hayes (the widowed Peds Dr) – I liked HIM! Haha!
      I will watch to the end, because I want to see how this all wraps up, but I hope it’s soon, so they don’t ruin the whole thing!

      • FHMom says:

        I liked Hayes for Meridith. He was Cristina’s package. Then they just dropped him because his kids didn’t approve? Puhleeze.

      • Jan90067 says:

        There was a whole thing a while back about how Pompeo was signed for ANOTHER season (for over $20 MILLION), so be prepared.

        I binge watched last year, and got spoiled getting to watch several epis a day, every day. Now, on *real time*, it’s soooooo S-L-O-W!! I also don’t really give a damn about the cast (except for Bailey and Webber). Christina was def. my favorite of all the characters, and the first 5 yrs or so, were the best.

    • AmyB says:

      @FHMom – SAME!! I don’t know why they just dropped the ball on that whole thing, but I think the actor wanted to leave the show? I don’t know, I would have liked to see him and Meredith together. I really liked their dynamic.

  2. Dee says:

    This show is still on?

  3. Jessica says:

    Jesus she’s 54?!? No way. Now I need to go watch! I gave up on the show this season and I can’t even figure out why exactly. I have the episodes waiting in my dvr, but(spoilers ahead) something about how they wrote Alex out left me uneasy, it felt so petty and almost toxic. The character and fans deserved a better ending for him, then the COVID season was weird because of course Meredith was close to death, and they made Teddy bisexual and shit on a lot of her backstory, not the gay part at all but how it intertwined with her current story, it felt like a cheap way to throw in girl on girl action for ratings in a later time slot. I dunno, the writing just got so bad. I was a die hard fan and stuck through all the ridiculousness over the years.

    • AmyB says:

      Yes, I think the way they wrote out Alex was one of the worst things done on this show. And that includes that plane crash in Season 8 LOL!

      • FHMom says:

        I agree about Alex, especially given what Jo was going through. Nobody believes he would have deserted her for Izzy.

  4. souperkay says:

    I mean, I hope Addison can inject some life into this season, including the last episode that had so much weird hand wringing about Meredith leaving GSM, especially all Bailey’s stuff about family. Also the stair fall just total soap stuff.

    Also, everything about the residency program being at stake feels so blah. I don’t feel like they are doing enough or spending enough time on the residents, besides Schmidt in his Friar Tuck shag, to make it have any stakes. So much time on “golden hearted” Owen, most vet to ever vet, killing his fellow vets by stepping outside the law. That whole storyline feels so patronizing and gross, burn pit injuries are real, they cause havoc & rare disease that is killing veterans at young ages but why do all the non-Owen vets have to be actively dying?? Also, Teddy’s service often feels like an afterthought compared to Owen’s, as well as Meghan, and both of their experiences as women veterans never feels explored at all.

    • AmyB says:

      @souperkay Yeah, I am really over Owen at this point lol! I really did like his character for a long time, but now? Ugh…and Teddy is another one that is tough to take. They have just done so much with her, and it doesn’t always make sense to me. That whole bisexual storyline? HUH? Don’t get me started-on Amelia! She literally runs away anytime she gets into some stable kind of relationship, so over her. There really aren’t that many characters left that I feel so invested in. Yes, Bailey and Webber and yes Meredith. But they have literally taken away so many of the ones I loved. I hope they wrap things up soon; please don’t make me hate this show I loved for so many years!!
      But we still have the old seasons on Netflix to enjoy – love the original interns 🙂

  5. Lila says:

    I love her! Grey’s is awful, but I can’t shake my Addison love. I’ll be watching.