At 25, Chyler Leigh seems to have it all — an actor-husband,
Nathan West, two kids, son Noah, 3, and daughter Taelyn, 13 months, and a blossoming
career thanks to her new gig on Grey’s Anatomy as the other Grey intern, Lexie.
But it hasn’t all been rosy for the striking brunette, who battled a drug and
alcohol addiction in her late teens. The star opens up to OK! about overcoming
her demons, working on the country’s hottest show and being a role model to
Are you having fun on the Grey’s set?
I’m having such a good time! I can’t say enough about how wonderful
everybody is. There is so much great stuff coming up — the new episodes are so
fantastic and so much fun. There’s a lot of drama, of course, but there’s such a
lightness to it. Every week when we get a script I’m just so excited to read it
and I’m loving it more and more each day.
Is there any tension remaining on set after the controversy
with Isaiah Washington?
I didn’t really feel much of the tension. I was there
briefly — two scenes total, two days in that last season — so I didn’t really
pick up on any of that stuff and no one really said anything to me about it
directly. I don’t know the details of the incident and I don’t really want to
know because, you know, it isn’t really going to do me any good. Everybody has
been really great, and as far as I know, everyone just seems really excited
about the new season.
So as far as you can tell Isaiah’s departure really hasn’t
adversely affected the cast chemistry?
No, not at all. They are very much a family — it is really
cool to see. Really nice to see when people can work so well together but also
joke around. For as serious a scene you may be filming, there is still so much
joking and laughing going on in between takes so it is a nice atmosphere — it
You’ve admitted to having some wild days in your youth. What
brought you through those times?
At the risk of sounding too cliché, I found a really
fantastic church. That is what keeps me grounded. I know the other side — I’ve
been through the Hollywood scene and when you just get so wrapped up in that,
you just realize that isn’t who you are. Starting clean is a theme for me —
starting fresh and understanding what’s important about life. Instead of being
passive, becoming passionate about what I do, what I want. It is just living
life intentionally — that is what I want instead of just existing.
How do you remain grounded in Hollywood?
At the end of the day who knows how long this (Grey’s) is
going to last? I don’t know. I need to look past it and set things up for the
future so that however long this does last, great, I’m so flattered and so grateful
to work in this town. There are so many people who are so incredibly talented
that just don’t get that. How many thousands of people are there in SAG and
they just don’t get much of a chance. I know — I am grateful — I know that this
could never have happened for me. You can’t take yourself and all of this too
seriously because then it just thwarts everything.
What are your ultimate career goals?
I think television is great because it gives you
consistency. I think, though — and I say this now, who knows! — I would eventually like to move into films
more, so that I can do a couple films throughout the year hopefully and then
have the rest of the time to spend with my family. And see the world and
Who are your film actress role models?
Gwyneth Paltrow is great at being able to take time off and
come back into it and get back into the swing of things seamlessly. I think
also the heavy-hitters like Julia Roberts, Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett, I
think they are not only phenomenal actresses but they also make really
Are you conscious of being a role model for girls now?
Absolutely. I have a really big heart for young women —
having been one — when there aren’t a lot of good examples for young women. Yes, I do strive to be someone young women can look up to. It is important to
find worth in yourself.
For more on Chyler, check out her gallery and pick up the current issue of OK! on newsstands now.