Sandra Oh: Starring on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Was a ‘Traumatic’ Experience

Dancing it out wasn’t enough to solve it. Sandra Oh reflected on the repercussions of achieving a new level of fame when she began starring on Grey’s Anatomy.

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“To be perfectly honest, it was traumatic. It was traumatic,” the Chair actress, 50, explained in a sneak peek from her Sunday Today With Willie Geist interview, which airs Sunday, August 29. “And the reason why I’m saying that is the circumstances you need to do your work is with a lot of privacy. So when one loses one’s anonymity, you have to build skills to still try and be real. I went from not being able to go out, like, hiding in restaurants, to then being able to manage attention, manage expectation, while not losing the sense of self.”

Oh credited her focus on mental health with helping her navigate the ordeal. “Well, I have a good therapist,” she noted. “I’m not joking. … It’s very, very important.”

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The Killing Eve star also learned how to set proper boundaries in her professional life. “You just have to work at finding your way to stay grounded,” she said. “And a lot of times that’s by saying no.”

Oh played Cristina Yang on Grey’s Anatomy from 2005 to 2014. She left after 10 seasons on the ABC drama, and unlike some of her former costars who have also departed through the years, she has no plans to return.

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“No,” she insisted about a potential reprisal of her role during a May episode of the Los Angeles Times’ “Asian Enough” podcast. “I love it, though, and this is also why I really appreciate the show … that I still get asked this.”

Oh then elaborated on why she does not want to venture back to her past. “It’s very rare, I would say, to be able to see in such a way the impact of a character,” she acknowledged. “In some ways, you do your work as a bubble and you let it go. I left that show, my God, seven years ago almost. So in my mind, it’s gone. But for a lot of people, it’s still very much alive. And while I understand and I love it, I have moved on.”

The American Crime alum ultimately encouraged her fans to evolve with her. “So please come with me to Killing Eve and on to The Chair and on to the other projects,” she said. “Come see the characters that I’m playing that are much more deeply integrated in … the Asian American experience.”

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