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'Grey's Anatomy' star Sarah Drew: Mama Kepner brings out 'gross side' of April

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Greys Anatomy
Eric McCandless/ABC

As if there wasn’t enough family drama at Grey Sloan Memorial, April (Sarah Drew) is going to face some of her own demons during Thursday’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy when Mama Kepner (Connie Ray) blows into town.

Growing up in a big family from a small town, April defied expectations by becoming a career woman. “What comes with that is an inherent feeling of being judged, so there’s a lot of misfiring of communication that’s happening between April and her mother and there’s some serious regression,” Drew tells EW from the set of the ABC medical drama.

“Her intention is to be helpful, but April receives it as judgment and meddling,” she continues. “We see a gross side to April in this episode. She’s got a huge history with her mom. To the outsider, to Jackson [Jesse Williams], her mother is just being incredibly kind, generous and gracious, but to April, she’s trying to control her world and take care of everything because she’s so sure that her daughter is so obsessed with her career that she can’t possibly take care of it herself. That’s how April sees it.”

Fortunately, April is able to shirk come of the responsibility of dealing with her mother on her husband, though that ends in disaster as well. “I get caught up in the ER and Jackson has a relatively light day, so he winds up taking her around and she ends up just buying an entire nursery for April without April having any say,” says Drew, who is also pregnant in real life. “So, when April walks into the house at the end of a long work day and finds a nursery being put together without her involvement at all, it completely lights a fire under April. She gets so pissed off. Again, Mama Kepner is just trying to be helpful. April’s like, ‘I’m going to do what I’m going to do when I’m going to do it. You don’t need to do it for me.'”

On the bright side, at least Jackson and April came to an understanding at the end of last season when it comes to raising their children, which has somewhat brought them closer. Still, it won’t necessarily be easy for the newlyweds with a baby on the way. “They’re going through the normal ‘Oh crap, we’re about to walk into something that’s totally unknown territory,’ Drew says. “April comes from a family of people who know how to have babies. She’s got three sisters and has probably spent a great deal of time taking care of them growing up. For her, it’s a much easier transition and one she has planned for in her head and in her heart for a long time. For Jackson, it comes a little less naturally to him and he’s freaking out a little bit about it. We have some interesting things we’re trying to figure out together.”

Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.