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In the case of British actress Camilla Luddington, art does not imitate life. And for that, she can be thankful, given that she plays volatile, troubled Dr. Jo Wilson on Grey’s Anatomy, which returns to ABC on Thursday.
In real life, Luddington, 33, is stable, settled, serene and expecting her first child with her partner, actor Matthew Alan. She’s in her third trimester and is not revealing the sex of her baby, but says she’s finally found her fashion groove.
“Before I got pregnant, I had this image in my head that I would be trying to cover the new curves,” she tells Yahoo Style. “I decided to embrace it.”
Form-fitting, tight clothes make her feel sexy. “I’m still in leather pants and a cute shirt when I go out to dinner. I feel prettier on the red carpet [in snug clothing]. I feel like embracing the curves has been something I discovered,” she says. “Why not wear leather or something with sheer-paneled sides? Flaunt it.”
She wasn’t always feeling so comfortable with her pregnancy.
“I had a horrible first trimester,” Luddington recalls. “I felt like I should be high on life and no one told me that you would feel so exhausted. I felt like I had taken some sort of sleeping pill. I had really bad nausea. I lost weight because I had such bad nausea. It’s the one time I stepped on a scale and been so angry about it going down.” Then, by about five months, she started feeling like herself again. “It’s been difficult,” she admits. “All those things — feeling your baby kick, hearing a heartbeat, those things remind you: This is why I’m doing this.”
She works with a slew of other parents, including Justin Chambers, Ellen Pompeo, and Jessica Capshaw — which means Luddington is continuously hitting them up for childcare tips.
“It does feel like a family. I’ve been harassing all the other mothers on set to give me any advice possible,” she says, adding that the best thing she’s been told is to “be forgiving of yourself,” which has been helpful, because, “In my pregnancy, I have this idea that I’d go to yoga twice a day. I felt exhausted and tired.”
The kids of cast members come to set all the time, running around in the hair and makeup trailer, and Luddington often gets dolled up while holding a baby in her arms. She’s also adjusting to the new reality of shooting a show while heavily pregnant.
But regarding art, not life, what about fans’ burning question: Will Jo ever find love, or some version thereof? Or will she continue to sabotage herself?
“What I can tell you is the next three episodes take place right after the season finale. It’s the 72 hours after everything happens,” she explains. “Jo is in a complicated place with Alex [Chambers]. But I think she still is madly, completely in love with him. Her reaction to the drama that is happening with him means that she is destroyed by it.”
But the show’s actors don’t get their scripts until Monday, the day of the table read. So often what you see on camera is their authentic reactions to some of the show’s most emotionally insane cuts and bruises.
“What that means is, we’re all discovering the storylines at the same time,” Luddington says. “It makes for the most emotional table reads. It’s almost like we’re the audience, just with no wine. People are gasping and crying.” But initially, she says, “What you’re going to see is not some great reconciliation [between Jo and Alex]. Just more traumatic storylines and drama between them.”
And what about her pregnancy, which is becoming more and more obvious? “We have maybe seven or so episodes to go. I’m only just starting to show on camera, so they’re having to hide it,” she says. But then she teases, “As of right now, it’s being hidden. But I don’t know if it’s going to stay that away.”
A baby for Jo (who is, um, already married to someone else) and Alex? Stranger things have happened.