Grey's Anatomy's Jessica Capshaw on Never Kissing Leah, the One (Plot) That Got Away and a Darker Arizona: 'Something Is Wrong With Her!'

Jessica Capshaw Greys Anatomy ArizonaWinning Callie back was a cakewalk compared to the uphill battle Arizona faces reinstating herself in the good graces of Grey’s Anatomy fans.

Ever since losing her leg nearly two years ago, the sweetheart of Grey Sloan Memorial has committed multiple acts of adultery, discarded lovers as if they were widowed socks and treated her wife like yesterday’s garbage — all because she had the nerve to save her damn life.

The unlikely minx’s biggest critic? Jessica Capshaw herself! On the eve of the ABC drama’s midseason premiere (next Thursday, 9/8c on ABC), the actress opens up about her struggle to portray the darker side of her alter ego, reveals a surprising truth (at least it was to me) about Arizona’s fling with Leah and laments the soapy storyline that never came to pass.

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TVLINE | Fans are turning on Arizona. They think she’s being really selfish.
I agree!

TVLINE | Is it OK for her to be a little selfish?
I don’t know if it’s ever OK for someone to be selfish. Perhaps there’s a time and place to be self-centered, but I think selfish never really wins Grey's Anatomy Season 10the race. But Arizona has always been so upstanding. She’s always had such a great moral center and a happy-go-lucky attitude — nothing ever sort of challenged her likability. And when she lost her leg, instead of being someone who focused on the fact that she survived, she was completely focused on what she had lost. I don’t know why she couldn’t get over that, because it seems like a no-brainer, like, “You’re alive! Why wouldn’t you just be thankful you’re alive?'” She couldn’t! And I think it led her down a road to do everything wrong and see what that felt like.

TVLINE | Cue the infidelity…
Yeah. There was someone outside of her little world that actually thought she was, like, a hot little piece. Someone who didn’t know her as the whole person she once was or the disabled person she is now. And then it was just a rabbit hole. And this season has been about her trying to figure out how to climb out of the rabbit hole… You know what’s interesting? Arizona and Leah never even kissed on-screen.

RELATED | Grey’s Anatomy First Look: Midseason Premiere Pits Callie Vs. Arizona 

TVLINE | Really?
No! Like, never. The relationship was implied and they were in bed together, but they never kissed. [The affair] never felt like it was really contending with whatever she had with Callie; it was kind of this filler. And so, I think that Arizona — and again, this doesn’t reflect very well on her – unceremoniously started the fling and then sort of unceremoniously ended it.

TVLINE | Arizona is a terrible person.
Something is wrong with her! [Laughs] My heart gets very tender when it comes to playing someone who has wronged someone else. I almost feel like it’s easier for me to play having been wronged than it is to actually feel like you had an active part in hurting someone. So I’ve tried to gloss over whatever Arizona did to Leah, like, “It was nothing! It was fine! It was just a thing!” [Laughs] But, in reality, it’s horrible. And Arizona is her superior. It’s just very messy!

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Grey's LeahTVLINE | Is she still going to therapy, or did she give that up, too?
What would she possibly need therapy for? What are you trying to say, Michael? [Laughs] I don’t know! Let’s be optimistic and say, perhaps, off-camera she is going to therapy.

TVLINE | OK – let’s give her the benefit of the doubt.
Let’s do that! Sara [Ramirez] and I talk about this all the time, because we’re creating this hyper-real, hopefully fun, yummy, exciting and devastating show. And yet, you want to make sure that part of the ingredients for that recipe are truth and honesty and having a real connection to what you are doing and everything else, and this storyline has been wild because infidelity is terrible! It’s as devastating as it gets; there’s nothing worse in a relationship. Personally, I’m lucky not to have dealt with it, but I can’t even imagine coming back from it. Hats off to [Callie and Arizona] for trying.

TVLINE | Any part of you disappointed they didn’t go Fatal Attraction route with Leah?
I totally thought they were going to! [Laughs]

TVLINE | I was hoping. That would have been so much fun.
Or go Single White Female. Just get her really freaky-deaky. Just have her lurking around every single corner, bumping into you, wearing all the same outfits that you wore. That would have been great.

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58 Comments
  1. Greys says:

    So tired of hearing about the cheating and the leg. Jessica seems so tired and nof a fan of her character anymore.

    • Melissa says:

      It’s because I think even Shonda is tired of Grey’s Anatomy. It used to be so good but now all she does is make her characters unlikable and miserable. Seriously no one can be happy. I love watching the reruns on lifetime of the first few seasons when it was so much better. I loved Burke, George, Izzy, Lexi and miss them. I hate the new interns and don’t feel invested the characters anymore.

      • Helen says:

        I completely agree with you. I recently watched the whole show from the beginning and I agree it was great when Addison, Burke, Izzie and George were in it. The show is still good but I prefer the earlier seasons. I don’t like the way Arizona is now, a loss of a limb takes getting used to but I think it shows weakness of character if it is leading you down a destructive path and Lifes too short to be destructive – you just have to carry on the best you can otherwise you just waste time. I did like Arizona with Lauren though, shame they haven’t brought her back as I think she makes Arizona better but hey it’s a TV show. Just hope Arizona is able to be a more likeable character again.

        • Babygate says:

          Lauren pursued Arizona knowing she was married with a child. She turned her into a cheater during a time of intense vulnerability. How can that possibly be the foundation for a healthy relationship?. If Arizona feels more valued by Lauren she should go for it. But outside of Grey Sloan. Outside of Greys Anatomy because in this universe their relationship has only been destructive.

  2. Melissa says:

    Is there a video coming? Or just a print interview?? Shoutout to tvline for actually asking some interesting questions!!

  3. Bloooo says:

    Isn’t Grey’s premiering next week?

  4. Greys Emmz says:

    Honestly, I’ve never hated Arizona for any of it, I actually understand it. I did however hate everything about the Leah storyline because I hate Leah and have done since the moment she was first on screen, no matter how much I tried in the early days she just grated on my never and then the brutal SL that was her and Arizona concreted the fact I will never like her. With Arizona, I would get angry and frustrated but not just with her, with Callie too. But isn’t that the point of a drama? I choose to embrace it, as long as Calzona is endgame, I’m OK with the journey!

  5. Sara says:

    LOL.. and?? This interview for what? Promotion for Grey’s coming back next week? It’s just Jcap saying how much she hates her character.

  6. Stacie says:

    It’s nice that Jessica gets that her character is really screwed up. Sometimes you read things from actors and actresses that defend their characters even when it’s really apparent they shouldn’t. Jessica gets it. I just hope the writers really get into redeeming Arizona. The fact that she was able to do what she did with the Doctor, get with Leah and then have Callie come and reunite with her was too easy. Nothing phased her. I wanted Arizona to struggle to get Callie back, but Arizona kinda gave up and then Callie came back to her after the talk with her Dad. If it’s too easy then it’s easy for things to fall apart again. If it’s a struggle, if it’s a hard road then it’s more likely that they will be stronger for it. I want Callie and Arizona to last, let’s hope the writers give Jessica and Sara some good stuff to work with.

    • Babygate says:

      This has been one of my greatest frustrations with the direction this has taken. Arizona cheated with Lauren, then, when Callie confronts her, she shouts at her and offers to cut off her leg. In the premiere, we see Arizona telling Callie to basically get over it. When Callie refuses to just ignore their problems and kicks her out, Arizona wastes no time in getting herself a girl-toy to keep her occupied at night. Instead of trying to show Callie that she is sorry and she wants to change and is getting help, she sleeps around while she’s wearing her wedding band! After all this, it is Callie who asks her to come back. It really has been too easy for her. They are rebuilding on straw. But Shonda is delusional enough to think that whatever crap she slaps together like an after-thought will be good enough. With Callie and Arizona is not about making their best efforts. It’s just about meeting their ‘equality’ goals with characters and a storyline for which they have shown no respect.

      • Frankie says:

        This in a nutshell.
        And adding that dumb intern to the mix only made things worse. It made Arizona look bad (and I’m not talking about how she told her to go home, I actually liked that part!). Sometimes I had to stop to think if Arizona even still loved Callie because the way she was acting in this first part of the season did not seem that way. Callie was pissed and hurt and even kicked her wife out, but you could still see glimpses of her having loved her wife. Arizona needs to step it up this next half, and it would be great if Shonda and her crew would take the time to really repair them (but of course any significant time will end up being spent on those damn interns that 95% of the Grey’s fandom do not care about).

      • Atlantawes says:

        kudos to your thoughtful comment — very well-said. And your last 4 sentences articulate exactly what has been gnawing at me for quite some time about the show, but that I wasn’t able to put into words… I guess it was super-convenient for Arizona to just never let go of her resentment over losing her leg, but I always felt that beyond the initial shock, it was so unrealistic. Did she not review her own medical records and as a doctor realize the options were either live with one leg, or be buried with two?

  7. JaLinde says:

    “You’re alive! Why wouldn’t you just be thankful YOUR alive?’”

    Uhm… ;-)

  8. ... says:

    It’s awfully easy to say that you’d be thankful for being alive after losing a limb and a whole other beast to conquer when it’s right in front of you. Her not being able to understand why someone wouldn’t be able to immediately bounce back following an event that horrific is mystifying.

    • Stefan says:

      thats not what she said

    • abz says:

      I don’t think she meant it in that way. I took it as she was making a comment about how frustrating it is that Arizona has continued let this loss consume her and still after a over a year, she is letting it consume her and take her down a destructive path. I think most viewers, or at least myself, can continue or have previously sympathized with Arizona and understood her loss, but it has just become frustrating to watch. And let’s not forget that this is television and time moves much quicker, so having a storyline like this being dragged out for a season and a half can get pretty tiring.

  9. Mareesa says:

    Best part of Arizona was the Lauren storyline. Finally something hot and new. I even liked the Leah thing more than Callie at this point. So frustrating.

    • dude says:

      Hated Lauren. I’ve never liked a character played by Hilarie Burton.

      • abz says:

        I never understood all the hate for Hilarie Burton. I think she’s beautiful and really enjoyed her as Peyton Sawyer and Sara Ellis.

        • Babygate says:

          Because you already had a familiarity and connection with Burton as an actress it would be harder for you to be objective about the Lauren character. You are projecting your personal affinity for Hilarie unto Lauren. That’s why you find the affair acceptable. That’s understandable but its not everyone’s experience.

          • abz says:

            I don’t know which part of my post you saw as me defending the affair. All I said was that I liked the actress and that I’ve seen a lot of hate for her even when she’s on different shows. I liked seeing her on Grey’s Anatomy, but that does not at all mean that I approved of what her character did.

          • Babygate says:

            @ abz

            Got it. Your response to ‘dude’ really has nothing to do with anything that happened in Greys. My apologies.

        • Danielle says:

          Oh it’s nothing to do with hating Hilarie. I watched her on One Tree Hill since the beginning too and loved her as Peyton was one of my favorites. She’s an amazing actress but that doesn’t take away from the fact that Lauren was an awful character. Not because she was acted badly but because Lauren was written so horribly and her storyline was really ridiculous. Hilarie is not being hated on, her character is. It doesn’t matter how good you are at acting, some characters are not going to be liked, regardless. You have to understand. Like Mark and Lexie, Arizona and Callie has/had a big following and people are extremely upset by all of this and Shonda’s shoddy writing with both ships.The affair was pretty pointless and very unlike Arizona so much that even Jessica Capshaw sees it.

    • Ashley says:

      I agree. I loved the Lauren storyline. I loved the Arizona that was with Lauren, because for once, she seemed like herself before she met Callie again. Now that Arizona is getting back with Callie, I have no doubt that Arizona is going to become pathetic again, and just be Callie’s doormat again.

      • Olivia says:

        Unfortunately… ^ this. I used to love Calzona but the way it’s been going on since S6 made me cringe super hard. The trial/flashback episode was the only one I found myself thinking “awww they’re so cute” in a long time.
        Anyway I loved Lauren/Arizona as well and how Arizona was being kinda herself again. (I actually started to watch OTH (always ignored that show when it was on) because I really liked HB in Grey’s and I’d never seen her in anything before so… it made me curious lol).

  10. Cassie says:

    I kind of don’t blame Jessica. The writing for Arizona has been absolutely horrible. Not even an apology on screen and the Leah thing was so pointless and just made her look worse. But they have to throw in the dumb interns into every storyline now. Blah.

    Didn’t like her response about how she should just get over the leg. She used to be more understanding of Arizona’s loss.

    • Ashley says:

      I agree too. To be fair, Leah was not an affair, Arizona wasn’t wrong for sleeping with her since things were pretty much over between her and Callie by then. And yeah, Jessica used to have more sympathy for Arizona’s loss. It’s like the cheating sucked out any compassion she has for Arizona.

      The writing for Arizona could definitely have been better for Arizona.

      • Frankie says:

        “Pretty much over” is not over. When you’re still wearing your wedding ring and you don’t know if you’re separated but you KNOW that you’re NOT divorced (10×08 when she’s talking to Owen’s girlfriend), then yeah, you are not pretty much over.
        So Callie kicked her out… earlier in that episode (10×05), Arizona said “if you want me to move out, just say so”. And so at the end of the episode, Callie did. But maybe instead of Arizona hooking up with the first person to follow her around like a puppy dog, maybe she should have spent the time trying to reflect on what she wants, the things that she did that caused this mess, maybe go to therapy, and work like hell to fight for your marriage and family. While Callie was off missing Arizona and trying to figure out how to fix herself, Arizona was boning Leah Murphy. And yet Callie was the one that approached Arizona, who started this whole mess, to come home.

        • cdeno says:

          If my spouse is telling people I ma dead (10×04) I am going to assume that the relationship is over and have no hope that it will ever start again.

          Not trying to defend Arizona. I have hated everything about this SL.

          • Babygate says:

            Callie didn’t tell Arizona to her face she was dead. Context matters. She wasn’t ending the relationship. She didn’t correct the donor and decided to use the situation to raise money. If not for Kepner, Arizona wouldn’t have known about it. It was in poor taste and she regretted it but it wasn’t a declaration for divorce. The fact is that when Arizona got involved with Leah she still considered herself married and that makes her a repeat offender. She didn’t try to fix herself or her trauma. She decided that sleeping around was the best solution for her. And then waited until after she had moved back in to let Callie know. This is yet another plot point that was quickly swept under the rug unaddressed.

  11. I’m tired of Calzona’s story always being assumed or behind the scenes. We want more!

  12. Babygate says:

    What am I missing here? JCap laments about how mean Arizona has been to Leah putting a spotlight on that fling and yet has nothing to say about the cavalcade of infractions she has committed against Callie. It’s almost like she goes out of her way to NOT comment on her on-screen relationship. I have never seen an actor fail to sell her character off-camera the way JCap does. Terri and Sherri sell the heck out of their characters every chance they get and it’s made The Fosters more popular than any other new ABC Family show. And they have a phenomenal chemistry and energy off-camera that reflects how comfortable these two heterosexual women feel about playing a lesbian couple. Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander love to tease a non-existing romantic relationship between their characters thus enhancing their very organic on-screen chemistry, and it has kept Rizzoli and Isles as a top rated show for TNT and cable. I have never seen anyone as disconnected from their character as JCap. She must be really tired of playing it. I mean, kudos to her. Shonda basically took her character and threw it in the grinder and Arizona will never, ever be the same. She’s now dark and not in an intriguing-I’m rooting-for-you kind of way like Meredith, but in a what-the-heck-is-wrong-with-you, get-some-help-already kind of way. I’m sure that’s not what JCap signed up for and she’s trying to make the most of it.

    • Babygate says:

      Also, to be clear, anyone who has been paying attention knows that Arizona and Leah never kissed. It was glaringly obvious. And it makes sense because the optics would have been catastrophic so close after the Lauren affair. I’m actually very surprised that Michael seemed to be unaware of it…

    • Whitesand125 says:

      I think that both Arizona AND Jessica were bashed sooo much, after Lauren and Leah, Jessica was just letting it be known that she does not approve of her infidelity (and neither does Arizona). It may be a very good defense, until the writers can fix what they ruined; a truly lovabe character.

      • Babygate says:

        In all fairness, while I abhor how Shonda has handled this couple and ruined Arizona, I have nothing against JCap. I think she’s a great person with admirable qualities and values and she’s been trying to do the best she can with the crappy hand Shonda has dealt her character. And I truly believe that all the hatred that has been hurled at her through Twitter, etc. has been completely unfair and uncalled for. She has become an easy target for the ignorant. This is her job, not her life. I do think she does a poor job of promoting her character or ‘owning’ it and I think she was not prepared to handle the ramifications and implications of taking on a lesbian role and the high visibility within the community that has brought about. But that has nothing to do with the storyline or how the writers have chosen to tackle it.

  13. Chris says:

    I blame for writers for having her lose her leg– she was the one ray of positivity and happiness and they just created character assassination that I almost quit the show. The truth is that kind of traumatic event does lead to behavior in some people, I laugh at the above comment that they are so sick about hearing about the leg, well that’s the problem her character has to live with it everyday– thanks writers!

  14. Khaira says:

    The short storyline with Lauren was kind of refreshing. Too bad it didn’t last longer! This could hâve been a new fresh start à la Addison.

  15. Abby says:

    I dont get why people think she seems less invested in the character O.o. The fact that she analysed the character this deeply and regularly discusses her with her co-star is so much more than half the cast does. It’s just a negative opinion, it happens. I dont see the big deal.

    • Whitesand125 says:

      Exactly! She is just being honest and realistic. She makes it known all the time how much she loves her job and how grateful she is to have it. Being as happily married as her and her husband are, it’s understandable that she would be unapproving of her character’s actions. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t want Arizona and Grey’s fans to regain their tight connection. Let the writing begin…get us off of this detour and Arizona back on track.

  16. Janet says:

    I too watch re-runs of the early seasons of Grey’s just so that I am reminded of how much I used to love the characters on this show. However, when I do that all I end up doing is hating the show. I don’t know what happened. The show went left and then the wheels locked and the vehicle somehow began spinning out of control. Arizona roller skated her way into my heart and now I wish I had stuck my leg out and tripped her. I loved Callie even when she was obsessed with George and got on my last nerve, I still dug Callie. Now I want to dig a hole and stick both Callie and Arizona in it. I am so sick of them already! I am tired of the back and forth, come in get out, just pee or get off the toilet. I am a fine one to talk because I keep watching the show!!! Grrrr!!! I really want to say something nice and positive and light hearted and care free, but I can’t. The light has gone out. I didn’t pay the power bill. I just want to be able to recognize these once lovable and enjoyable characters again. Come back will you please? Please, pretty, please?

  17. Khaira says:

    I think she has had enough of the hatred she’s facing! Because this is just a show people, drama thrills as she always points out. People are getting way too involved, which would be great if some fans were “normal” but it’s taking a huge proportion and i think Jcap is just disappointed with some fans (let’s be honnest) .
    After the season 9 finale she stood with her character, explaining the why and how and for drama’s sake it is a good storyline, not out of character… And now after 13 episodes some fans just don’t want to let it go and keep blaming and hating her, so we have an interview like this one where she basically blames her character like “i get what your saying but still… Chill”
    Poor JCap! Having to do such an interview must be pretty hard for her. We didn’t get one when Derek picked Addison, or when Owen cheated on Yang.. Well at least not to that extent.

  18. Why do people get so invested in lesbian characters, but talk about how wrong two gay characters are.

  19. Claudia says:

    Yo amo a Arizona y siempre bla amare, ella a pasado por un evento traumatico y eso la llevo a ese cambio, pero ella puede volver, solo tiene que reencontrarse a si misma, yo estoy segura que las cosas entre ella y callie se arreglaran y saldran adelante.

    • Babygate says:

      Para salir hacia adelante primero Arizona tiene que entender que tiene un problema. Pero hasta ahora solo culpa a Callie por todo. Yo espero que Arizona admita que necesita ayuda y asi pueda recuperar su previa personalidad.

  20. Olivia says:

    I just think the writers have gotten lazy and have no idea what to write about the Arizona and Callie story line has always been unbalanced I would the show to write about unreal ground breaking surgeries, drop the interns and focus on show us about the regulars lives. they could have explored Meredith and Alex friendship which they have never done justice too. Show the doctors outside of the hospital once in awhile.

  21. Khaira says:

    Or maybe just maybe it has been the catalyst of their relationship. Lauren hasn’t done anything that Arizona wouldn’t and Arizona thought this through and did it anyway. Don’t take it out on Lauren. You know sometimes even if you love someone deeply and have a family, something can happen and just end it, it has been numerous little things that ended them up to this path, even if you try to repair the relationship it just doesn’t work.
    Honestly i am hoping for a Calzona divorce. They just keep hurting each other. And for drama’s sake just please let them end this painful storyline and start a fresh one. It is just not worth it anymore!
    Just because they’re a gay couple it doesn’t mean that their relationship shouldn’t be put at risk, evolve and maybe end. I’d rather see Callie and Arizona with someone else.

  22. Danielle says:

    You know I really adore Jessica. She is a very talented actress but I have zero interest in Arizona anymore, which is disappointing because she and Callie were one of my ships for this show, now I don’t care at all about her character. I agree with others who say Shonda doesn’t care about this show anymore. Personally, I believe it all went downhill when she killed off Lexie and Mark. Those two could have left the show without dying. This woman cannot handle more than one tv show at a time, she’s not good at it and she’s been ruining Grey’s little by little for 4 seasons now. Enough is enough. It’s time to end. Or at least find a way to bring back the dead, Shonda. I don’t want to go as far as to say she’s a bad story teller what with her killing favorite characters off left and right but it’s getting to that point. Shonda is like that guest who has far overstayed her welcome. She has scandal, hand the show over to someone who KNOWS WHAT THEYRE DOING and doesn’t think killing or the threat of killing favored characters is the answer to keep the ratings up and the drama going.

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