Camilla Luddington of Grey’s Anatomy is gearing up for season 17. Playing Dr. Jo Wilson Karev since 2012, the British-born actress has gotten to know every aspect of her character.
Since the medical drama is known for its surprising plot twists, Luddington revealed she received a shock of her own regarding Jo’s background.
No more Jolex
Paired with Alex Karev (Justin Chambers) when Jo was introduced on the show, Luddington soon became a series regular in season 10. The couple went through several ups and downs in their relationship, including the repercussions of Jo discovering her birth mother.
“In regards to Jo’s mental health, he’s in it, like he said, for the long run, and so they’re gonna navigate this together,” Luddington said of Alex, according to Bustle. “There’s a strength they have in each other, you know?”
Overcoming a myriad of challenges over the years, fans thought “Jolex” would go the distance. Yet Alex left Jo for his ex-wife Izzie last season, where viewers will get to see how Jo moves on in season 17.
Camilla Luddington relates to Jo’s struggles
Luddington’s character came with a layered past that included homelessness, parental abandonment, and an abusive spouse. When Jo sought therapy after learning traumatic details of father in season 15, Luddington wanted to give an accurate portrayal on dealing with depression.
“It’s something that was really important to us because we didn’t want to just rush through like, ‘oh, she’s out and now she’s fine,’” Luddington told Bustle. “Depression is going to be something that Jo is living with … it’s not something that magically can just go away forever.”
The Grey’s Anatomy star had her own personal experience of healing from loss. With her mom passing away when she was just a teenager, Luddington experienced anxiety when she was expecting her first child Hayden and decided to seek help.
“I didn’t understand that anxiety was so overwhelming because I have never suffered from anxiety before,” she said. Luddington shared “there was so much strength and, honestly, release in being able to go and seek out a therapist and speak about it to somebody.”
Camilla Luddington didn’t know this about Jo
When asked to name a plot twist that took her by surprise, Luddington recalled some details from her own character’s past of which she hadn’t been aware.
“Finding out that I was homeless,” the Grey’s Anatomy actor told BUILD in 2016. “I didn’t know that until I was shooting a scene. I was like seven or eight episodes in and I’m dealing with a man that’s homeless. And Jo seems to have more affection and feeling towards him than usual.”
With Chandra Wilson (Miranda Bailey) serving as director on the episode “Second Opinion” in season 9, she informed Luddington of a little background info on Jo.
“[Wilson] came over … this was like midway through filming the scene. She’s like, ‘Just so you know, you were homeless.’ And I was like ‘Huh? What?’ She’s like, ‘Yeah, you’re homeless and your family abandoned you. That’s why you feel this way.’”
But that wasn’t the end of the update. “She was like, ‘You know how you were crying at the beginning of this season? That was a lie. You’re super manipulative,’” Luddington revealed. “I was like ‘What? Are you kidding? Like, why didn’t I know that?’”
Despite the unforeseen plot twist, the Grey’s Anatomy star doesn’t mind the unexpected developments that come with the show. “They keep things from you,” Luddington said. “It makes it exciting.”
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