'Grey's Anatomy' Star Sarah Drew Talks Portraying April Kepner as 'Authentic Christian,' and Saving Herself For Marriage

( [email protected] ) Mar 20, 2014 05:41 PM EDT
Grey's Anatomy Sarah Drew
(Photo: IMDB)

Sarah Drew of Grey's Anatomy on ABC can really identify with her roles as the Christian Dr. April Kepner on the show. That's because she, too, is a Christian and her faith is very important to her. Raised by a Presbyterian Minister, she grew up in a Christian home.  

She recently sat down with Fox411 and talked about how it was important for her to have input into how the character is portrayed in the show, and how her beliefs have affected her life, in and out of hollywood.

Grey's Anatomy Sarah Drew
(Photo: Bob D'Amico/ABC)

For Drew, who joined the show in  2009, playing Dr. Kepner was a way to present her Christian beliefs. As the slightly neurotic Christian surgeon on Grey's, Drew had the opportunity to portray a different image of Christianity than what is stereotypically portrayed on the big and little screen.  Instead of a "judgmental Christian", she chose to make her character more authentic.

"I think in the media, Christians are the butt of every joke or they are portrayed running around condemning everyone to hell. Shonda [Rhimes] came to me and said you know a lot about this and to tell her story authentically, we need your input."

The Grey's Anatomy character wasn't originally intended to be a Christian, but after the producers saw how important Drew's faith was to her, the writers decided to explore a very unique character, and asked Drew to portray an "authentic Christian."

"For April, the first thing that was revealed was she was a virgin. I waited until I was married to have sex so I understood April's motivations. The writers thought it would be a really cool and interesting story to tell that isn't seen too often," Drew said.

Drew, like Tim Tebow and Kirk Cameron, who have stated publicly that they waited for marriage to have sex, seems to be an oddity in today's sex-crazed society.

Drew has been married since 2002 to Peter Lanfer, and she is happy she waited. Two years ago, the couple welcomed baby boy Micah Emmanuel Lanfer into their world.  

Currently, her character is working through the struggle of being sexually active and staying true to her faith. In the last episode of Grey's Anatomy, April left her wedding to run away with her first love, and the person she eventually lost her virginity to, Dr. Jackson Avery, played by Jesse Williams. For April,  losing her virginity was a huge issue, and a storyline that didn't go away in one episode.

Grey's Anatomy Sarah Drew
Sarah Drew plays April on Grey's Anatomy. (Bob D'amico / ABC)

Drew said she understood her character's humanity, and could identify with her struggles.  

"April's human and she's going to make mistakes and fail, but I want to be very clear that I'm not trying to get on a soapbox and tell people how to behave," she said.  

As a Christian, she sees non judgment as a key to following Christ Jesus.  

"He's completely opposed to running around and judging people," She said. "I want to be able to show someone who thinks deeply and cares for people and actually tries to live out who Jesus is. That's what I try to do in my daily life."