Before Kate Walsh appeared in the upcoming movie Girls Trip, and before she starred as Mrs. Baker in the hit Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, she was Dr. Addison Montgomery on Grey's Anatomy. If you loved Addison, you loved to hate her, and Walsh is well aware that her character garnered some less than favorable reactions — but they also completely jumpstarted her career.
"That entrance [at the end of Season 1] that changed my life," Walsh explained to Buzzfeed in a Q&A. "I got more calls and attention from that 60-second scene than anything in my career before. Isn’t that funny?"
This was a different, less social media-obsessed time. While Walsh wasn't getting constantly bombarded with notifications filled with opinions about her character, she was aware of how people felt.
"Everyone hated me, but at that time there was no Twitter," she continued. "There were chat rooms, but I never really went on them. I kind of liked being the Wicked Witch from the east. Or the wicked bitch."
Even though reaction to the character was strong, showrunner Shonda Rhimes knew what she was doing — and Walsh was so grateful for that.
"Shonda’s really gifted at flipping every character that’s seemingly awful," she explained. "It’s a great lesson in how to have compassion for people that you initially hate."
Her character in 13 Reasons Why, however, is much more sympathetic. She plays the mother of Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), the protagonist and student who died by suicide, inciting the events of the series.
"Every scene I got to shoot with Katherine was a favorite memory, because she’s so adorable and beautiful — I mean, all the kids on the show are so wonderful," she told Buzzfeed. "And the adults too. But really every scene I got to shoot with her, especially the flashbacks. I don’t have kids (I've been a stepmom, which I loved) so it was a really beautiful opportunity to be a mother."
It's clear there's no role that Walsh can't make amazing.