From 2007-2012, Chyler Leigh was finally able to progress from ‘that actress’ on a million different television shows that never survived one season, to a steady, recognized actress with a growing fan base.
2007 saw Chyler join the cast of ABC’s soapy medical drama, “Grey’s Anatomy”, as Meredith Grey’s (Ellen Pompeo) barely known, younger, half-sister, Lexie Grey (the offspring of her father’s second marriage). Initially, Lexie Grey was hard to warm up to because she was part of an infusion of younger cast members into the show, and because of Meredith’s own hostility towards her that were more a result of her own unresolved issues with her father.
Over time, Chyler took hold with fans as Lexi Grey developed her own identity, independent of being Meredith’s sister, and had a torrid relationship with Dr. McSteamy, Mark Sloan (Eric Dane). She also had several deeply emotional, and dramatic, story lines throughout the series, up through her departure in 2012.
Before she joined “Grey’s Anatomy”, she literally was the ‘girl of a million television shows’. By the time she joined that cast, Chyler had already had starring, or guest, roles in twelve different television series. Only two of those series, “The Practice” and “7th Heaven”, were around for any appreciable length time. Chyler had little to do with that, though, as those shows had already been long established before she joined them for a short run.
One of the more notable failed attempts at television stardom was her role as the spiky-haired punk girl, June Tuesday (an obvious reference to 1980’s one-hit wonder, Jane Child), in a spin-off of the hit comedy “That ’70s Show” called, shockingly, “That ’80s Show”. Alas, the show runners didn’t understand the chemistry that made “…’70s” work, and the spinoff quickly left the airwaves.
Chyler’s other notable, pre-“Grey’s” role, was as in teen comedy spoof, “Not Another Teen Movie”, where her role as Janey Briggs was a direct parody of Rachel Leigh Cook’s character in “She’s All That”.
Outside of that, Chyler has also been involved in modeling since her teens, and she met her future husband, actor Nathan West (with whom she has three children), on the set of one of her earlier failed series, “Saving Graces”.