Jessica Capshaw Didn’t Wear Her Prosthetic Leg on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ for Long
Actress Jessica Capshaw was born on 9 August 1976 in Columbia Missouri, United States to actress and producer Kate Capshaw and business executive and high school principal Robert Capshaw.
The Dear Joe actress has been married to American entrepreneur Christopher Gavigan, founder of Honest Company and Prima. She shares a blooming family with four children with him. Her mother later married American filmmaker Steven Spielberg when Jessica was 15 after which Steven's seven children, Sasha Spielberg, Theo Spielberg, Sawyer Spielberg, Destry Spielberg, Max Spielberg, and Mikaela Spielberg, became her step-siblings.
Professionally, Capshaw is popularly known by her other name, Dr. Arizona Robbins. Dr. Robbins was a fictional character on the long-running TV show Grey's Anatomy, portrayed by Capshaw.
Capshaw, who has an estimated net worth of $20 million, started working on the show in 2009. Her role was initially scripted for only three episodes. However, upon seeing the potential in her role, much of which is credited to Capshaw's efficient acting, the show's creator Shonda Rhimes decided to extend her storyline.
In a 2016 interview with NBC News, Capshaw recalled,
Shonda had this idea that my character could present a storyline for Callie. It was an experiment to see what worked. It just kind of kept working.
The decision turned out to be a masterclass as Capshaw's on-screen chemistry with Sara Ramirez, who played Callie Torres on the show, started gaining popularity and brought Capshaw gay rumors in real life.
Capshaw was portrayed as an LGBTQ+ character who identifies as a lesbian while Ramirez played a bisexual woman.
Their on-screen marriage was shown in the episode named 'White Wedding.'
However, later in the show, the storyline took a different turn as audiences witnessed the two getting divorced at the beginning of season 11. And it was the second divorce for Callie, who was previously married to the character George O'Malley (T.R. Knight)
During season 9, Capshaw's character, Arizona, even cheated on Callie as she had a one-night stand with craniofacial surgeon Lauren Boswell.
Interestingly, soon after she left the show, Ramirez came out as bisexual and later announced themselves to be non-binary.
However, Capshaw's character's sexual orientation and on-screen relationship isn't the only thing that is still talked about by the show's loyal watchers. The turning point of Capshaw's character came when Dr. Robbins lost her left leg in a plane crash.
Does Jessica Capshaw Have a Fake Leg?
No, Jessica, who stands at the height of 5 feet and 5 inches, does not have a fake leg in real life. However, during one of the episodes in the eighth season of Grey's Anatomy, her character suffered a plane crash. Fortunately, she didn't die.
Her character managed to survive the fatal plane crash but was ultimately left with a broken left leg needing amputation. The crash also led to the death of two characters, Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh) and Mark Sloan's (Eric Dane).
Dr. Robbins' leg was eventually amputated by Callie even after Capshaw's character cried for help.
Her character, Robbins had to don the prosthetic leg from season 9 to season 14 (which marked Jessica's exit from the show). However, the actress only had to wear it once in a total of 141 episodes when her character had the artificial leg the entire time.
Talking with TV Line in September 2012, Capshaw opened up about when she was first pitched the idea of her character's fate by Rhimes. "We're gearing up for next season and this is what I'm thinking," she recalled what the series creator told her during their phone conversation.
Further in the conversation, Capshaw shared what she told Rhimes after hearing what she had to say.
What do you mean she’s losing her leg?! This is crazy. This is such an insane responsibility.
However, after she realized the potential in her storyline, Capshaw made peace with the character's fate.
The actress was beloved by her fans for her portrayal and her dedication to the character. She was pregnant with her fourth child, daughter Josephine, in 2016 during season 12 and she filmed for the entire season, hiding her baby bump.
The Story Behind Jessica Capshaw the Fake Prosthetic Leg
From the show's ninth season until season fourteen, the audience saw Dr. Robbins in her prosthetic leg. However, the actress did not wear the artificial limb more than once. And according to her, the on-screen leg, apart from that one time, was designed using CGI.
The actress made this crucial bit of information public during a recent reunion show, Stars in the House.
So, how did it all unfold? Well, here's how.
Believe it or not, the production team had worked with A Step Ahead Prosthetics in the making of a “realistic-looking, high-heeled transfemoral prosthesis” for Capshaw, a non-amputee.
Before the shoot, she was taken to a hospital and given a realistic-looking prop leg with a harness. The fake leg was designed by the hospital's medical lab and used actual prosthetics elements to provide it with an authentic look.
The actress's upper thigh was modeled in the making of the prosthetic leg with real components. Special attention was given to her skin tone for apparent reasons. The detailing and craftsmanship put in the leg made it hard for the audience to tell the difference.