Kate Walsh, star of “Grey’s Anatomy,” on restoring coral reefs and her TV character Addison Montgomery

Actress Kate Walsh is lucky to be alive. In 2015, the “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice” star was diagnosed with a lemon-sized brain meningioma, which was later removed and found to be benign. In addition to her decades-long acting career, Walsh is active in a number of social causes, including ocean conservation. She is the spokesperson for the HOPE Reef reef restoration project in Indonesia, created by the Sheba brand, the cat food company. For every click on the YouTube video, “The Movie That Grows Coral,” the money is donated by Sheba to the project. We spoke over the phone with Walsh, 53, who is currently working in Western Australia. Here are edited excerpts from a longer conversation.

Jim Clash: Where does your passion for the oceans come from?

Kate Walsh: I grew up mainly in California going to the beach. If it hadn’t been for all the science, I might have been a marine biologist. Instead, I just played a fake doctor on TV and stuff [laughs]. But I have always loved the oceans. As I was able to travel later and explore the world, I tried snorkeling, diving, swimming and sailing. If I have the chance to do what I love and have the chance to use my creativity and a minimum of power, I have to be of service to important causes, I feel inclined – even obligated – to do it. , and the oceans are the future of our planet. I’m pretty excited about it. A real investment, in the future, you know? I hope I can even get my cat on a jet ski – just kidding [laughs].

Shock: What makes the Sheba brand HOPE Reef restoration project, in which you are involved, so important?

Walsh: Many of our ocean systems are in trouble, especially corals. It is estimated that if we don’t start restoring tropical reefs, we will lose 90% of them by 2043. Reefs are home to ocean life like fish, sea turtles, sharks, and more. By 2029, Sheba plans to restore reefs measuring more than 185,000 square meters, or approximately 148 Olympic-size swimming pools, at key sites around the world. It is very exciting for ocean lovers and animal lovers. Leave Sheba, but I could never have imagined marrying my love for animals, my cat, Pablo and the oceans, but here we are.

Shock: In 2015, you were diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. How has this affected your life?

Walsh: I’m really happy to be alive so that’s one of the ways [laughs]. No, I am lucky to have fully recovered. It was a very strange experience. No one can ever anticipate that, and it’s pretty cliché when people say, “Well, there it is. I did a pretty good run, but I hope it’s not over, because I’ll live my life differently ”, that’s what I did. I feel very lucky to have some kind of autonomy and choice in how I am going to live. This is exactly what I do. I’m super happy to be here in every way.

Shock: What is your favorite episode of “Grey’s Anatomy”?

Walsh: Oh my god I don’t really know [laughs]. Maybe it was the bomb [As We Know It], a Super Bowl episode that kind of put us on the map. The show has been such an amazing experience in so many ways. Being on something that has been critically acclaimed, and also very popular around the world, is a unique experience.

Shock: What did you like most about your character, Addison Montgomery?

Walsh: I loved being able to work with Shonda Rhimes and all the actors I met on the show, many of whom have become lasting friends. The experience of playing such a broken, intelligent and multi-faceted character like Addison, was just a delight. Then to be able to have a spin-off [“Private Practice”], and doing it for almost a decade, was just amazing to me.

Shock: Do you keep in touch with your former co-star, Patrick Dempsey?

Walsh: Yeah, we’re friends. He’s a great guy. We see each other from time to time. We’ve been working together since Grey’s, and we’ll probably end up working together again. I really love him, I have a lot of respect for everything he does. I also like that he drives cars!

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