Grey’s Anatomy’s Kate Walsh On How It Feels To Be The ‘Elder Statesman’ On The Long-Running Show

Kate Walsh on Grey's Anatomy.
(Image credit: ABC)

Only Ellen Pompeo, James Pickens Jr. and Chandra Wilson can boast that they’ve been main characters on Grey’s Anatomy from the very beginning; however, Kate Walsh came in pretty early herself. Viewers met Addison Montgomery in the most surprising way in the Season 1 finale — when she revealed that she was married to Derek Shepherd. After a decade-long break from the show, she returned last season and is back in a recurring role for Season 19, where she finds herself in the position of ushering in a handful of new cast members. She recently shared her thoughts on the Season 19 additions, including what it’s like to be the “elder statesman.”

Kate Walsh returned to the fan-favorite role of Addison in Season 18, appearing in a few episodes and melting our hearts as she grieved for McDreamy and got to meet his and Meredith’s kids. With Ellen Pompeo exiting Grey’s Anatomy when it returns from winter hiatus, five new actors were brought in to give the longtime medical drama a quasi-reboot. Walsh visited The Kelly Clarkson Show and talked about what it’s like to welcome a group of new faces onto the series two decades into its run, saying: 

It's incredible to be back. But the younger actors, the new set of interns, they grew up watching the show. You're like, 'Oh, hi!' It's funny to be the elder statesman of the show. They're so beautiful, all of them are such great actors. And the writers, I mean, Krista Vernoff, Meg Marinis, all of them, Jamie Denbo... Krista is Shonda's right-hand woman, and they've been there since the beginning — a lot of these writers. They're just incredible and it's iconic writing.

Kate Walsh has been consistently complimentary of Grey’s Anatomy’s writing staff. She previously said the writing is as strong as ever, and that having the show focused around interns, who are inexperienced and fallible, makes it more interesting — a sentiment that CinemaBlend’s Corey Chichizola, a longtime Grey’s fan, agrees with.

The actress is also one of several Grey’s Anatomy veterans to speak highly of the five actors who joined the show for its current season: Alexis Floyd plays Simone Griffith; Harry Shum Jr. joined as Benson “Blue” Kwan; Adelaide Kane as Jules Millin; Midori Francis plays Mika Yasuda; and Niko Terho gave fans the biggest surprise, playing Derek Shepherd’s nephew Lucas Adams. James Pickens Jr. offered his new colleagues a warm welcome, while Caterina Scorsone called them “gorgeous,” inside and out.

Kate Walsh also talked to Kelly Clarkson about her character’s storyline for Season 19 and getting to tackle women’s health issues from all perspectives, according to the actress. Showrunner (for now) Krista Vernoff has said the Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe v. Wade will be addressed, with Addison Montgomery likely to continue playing a role in that story. You can see Walsh’s full appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show below: 

When Grey’s Anatomy returns at 9 p.m. ET Thursday, February 23, Meredith Grey will say goodbye to Grey Sloan Memorial, as she moves her family to Boston (still no word on that spinoff we’ve been asking for). Also be sure to check out our 2023 TV schedule to see what other premieres are coming soon.

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.