It Only Took ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ 60 Seconds to Change Kate Walsh’s Life
Kate Walsh, Grey’s Anatomy, Addison Montgomery
Credit: ABC    

Grey's Anatomy

It Only Took ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ 60 Seconds to Change Kate Walsh’s Life

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Grey’s Anatomy has made stars out of many of its cast members, and Kate Walsh is living and working proof!

In fact, she got more attention than ever before when she made her dramatic entrance on the show in the first season finale, as she reveals in a new interview.

Keep reading as Kate waxes nostalgic about those early years...

The 49-year-old has been all over our screens since Grey’s spin-off Private Practice ended.

She brought her A-game to a gig in the debut season of Fargo, a lead role on the Bad Judge, a starring part in 13 Reasons Why, and now an appearance in the big-screen comedy Girls Trip.

None of that would have been possible, perhaps, if Shonda Rhimes hadn’t cast her as Derek Shepherd’s estranged wife, Addison Montgomery.

Kate Walsh, 13 Reasons Why
Credit: Beth Dubber/Netflix    

When Kate showed up on set, though, the show was not the smash hit it would soon become. In fact, it hadn’t even aired yet, and it was going through an identity crisis.

“I came in at episode 8, [and] at that time the morale was really low,” she tells BuzzFeed.

“They kept changing the name of the show. It was Doctors and then Surgeons and then Complications and I was like, ‘What a bullshit show title!’ Grey’s Anatomy is the perfect title.”

Kate Walsh
Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images    

Once she saw Seattle Grace and its doctors in action, though, she knew she had made an excellent career move.

“To keep our morale up they started showing us episodes at Friday lunches that were already edited. And I was like, ‘This is a really good show’ and I was so excited to be a part of it.

“I was supposed to do a pilot for another sitcom on ABC, and it didn’t end up getting picked up and then they called me to be a series regular on Grey’s and the world changed. It was stunning, right? It was really phenomenal. And that Super Bowl episode! That was what put us into the stratosphere.”

greys-infographics-addison
Credit: Wetpaint    

By Season 3, Kate had made Addison such a fan favorite character, Shonda gave her her own show, the spin-off Private Practice.

It was a total 180 for a character who strode into Seattle Grace — “all leggy and fabulous,” to quote Meredith Grey — and ruined Mer and Der’s romance, the biggest ship of the show at that time.

“That entrance that changed my life,” Kate says.

“I got more calls and attention from that 60-second scene than anything in my career before. Isn’t that funny?”

“Shonda is a genius,” the actress continues.

“Everyone hated me, but at that time there was no Twitter. There were chat rooms, but I never really went on them. I kind of liked being the Wicked Witch from the east. Or the wicked bitch.

“Shonda’s really gifted at flipping every character that’s seemingly awful. It’s a great lesson in how to have compassion for people that you initially hate.”

Grey’s Anatomy nicknames, Addison Montgomery, Kate Walsh, Derek Shepherd, Patrick Dempsey
Credit: Vivan Zink/ABC    

With so many Hollywood jobs keeping her busy, Kate doesn’t watch much Grey’s Anatomy anymore — though she did tune in for her TV husband’s death. She remembers her time on the show fondly, however.

“Once in a while I'll see a GIF somewhere online,” she says. “It would be really interesting to go back and watch now — that would be really cool.”

Of course, she’d have to get used to seeing a past incarnation of herself.

“It was funny, I was on The Today Show, and I didn’t know that Taye Diggs was guest-hosting, and they showed a little clip of us when Sam and Addison were dating [on Private Practice] and I was like, ‘Oh my god, who is that girl?’” she said

“It’s like watching someone else. I don’t usually watch myself — I get a little freaked out. It’s not good for me.”

That’s OK — we’ll rewatch Addison’s tenure on her behalf!

Grey’s Anatomy returns for Season 14 this fall on ABC.