In honor of April Kepner’s return and Japril’s reunion, we’re gonna take a look back at their beautiful love story and some of the moments that made them one of the most beloved ships on Grey’s Anatomy still years after Sarah Drew’s departure from the show. The pair joined the series together back in season 6 before Drew made her exit in season 14. What Drew and Jesse Williams (Jackson Avery) created on-screen with their characters was beautiful and will forever be a part of the show’s legacy.
7×08 — Not only do we see Jackson going to April to discuss his concerns about no one wanting to work with him throughout the episode, we see Jackson’s protectiveness over her as well. After Alex attempts to push April into having sex with him (despite knowing she was a virgin) then flipping out on her when she wants to go slower, Jackson immediately spots her crying at the party. He tries to comfort her and find out what happened and while we don’t see the exchange, it’s clear she told him because the second Alex shows up, Jackson goes after him until Mark and Owen pull him off. Later during a conversation with Lexie, Jackson voices that April is the only friend he has left here.
8×21 — What a big episode for Japril fans; first off we have Jackson reassuring April throughout the episode that she will do fine on her boards. Then we have April and Jackson getting dinner together the night before, which has (and leads) to so much content. April comments how the two of them are still standing before Jackson adds a “me and you.” When a drunk guy begins to harass April and April apologizes, Jackson is quick to say that she has nothing to be sorry for, which she doesn’t. Women should not have to apologize because a man is insecure or didn’t get something he wanted; not her fault that she’s smarter than you. The guy continues, Jackson again stepping in to tell him to back off, but just as he stands up to try to make the guy get away from April, the redhead shocks everyone by getting up and punching the guy. He calls April a bitch and Jackson’s about to tell him he needs to go but the guy ends up punching Jackson before he could finish. He tries to challenge Jackson to a fight but April is all too ready to finally stand up for herself, not hesitating to go after the guy. Jackson ends up having to pull her off and hold her back until Webber stops it.
The interaction leaves April with confidence in herself, passing the test, and just life itself that she had been struggling with due to nerves. After calling herself a soldier, she leans forward and kisses Jackson. Jackson is surprised at the move, not wanting to go too far or push April into something she’s not comfortable with since she’s still a virgin, but April insists it’s okay. She later says she’s glad they did it, exchanging a cute and awkward conversation on where Jackson should sleep. Before leaving, he makes sure that she’s okay and kisses her goodbye.
8×24 — Jackson shares his decision to go to Tulane with April as they get ready for the celebration dinner. He goes on to say he feels sick about leaving the hospital and her, leading April to finally express her true feelings about everything that’s happened; from failing her boards to losing her virginity. She expresses her sadness over losing him, her best friend, before asking him to just be happy with her tonight.
9×06 — Jackson tells April that this thing between them isn’t just sex for him. He finally opens up about his feelings and voices that he has feelings for her. April apologizes for hurting his feelings and now everything is finally out in the open.
9×07 — April suspects she might be pregnant and tells Jackson. While waiting for the blood test results to find out, Jackson tells her that he’s in “all the way,” an answer to her previously telling him that she could handle dealing with the pregnancy on her own if it wasn’t what he wanted. He assures her that they can do this despite it not going according to April’s plan. He tells her they can get married, have the baby, and raise it together. He promises her that he means it and that he really wants this. It’s a beautiful moment as the two discuss getting married, having a big yard, a wedding, Jackson telling her that she can have whatever she wants. Another cute moment I have to mention from this episode is towards the end while Jackson and Alex are having drinks; “no more calling her weird.”
9×15 — April is afraid to open up to Matthew about revirginizing and explains it all to Jackson. After realizing he reacted poorly, he catches her before she leaves to tell her that once Matthew gets to know her better, he’ll want to follow her everywhere. The words are obviously referring to himself and their past relationship.
9×21 — After Matthew dumps her, April takes it out on Jackson. At the end of the episode, he says a quote that seems to sum up their struggles for the previous episodes perfectly; “I’m sorry that you’re hurt, okay? I’m sorry that Matthew broke up with you. As far as us sleeping together, I’m never gonna be sorry about that.”
9×24 — Remember that time April ran towards a burning bus to try to get to Jackson? It is done in a way that gives audiences chills as Matthew holds her back and the bus explodes. Then there’s her reaction when she thinks she lost him, it’s just purely devastating, and Drew continues to act the hell out of this scene as Jackson appears again carrying the little girl he stayed to rescue. This episode also delivers one of the most well-known Japril scenes; April telling Jackson that she wants him. She tells him how she knows she’s been unfair to him but the feeling of almost losing him obviously opened her eyes. Jackson is only able to mention the elephant in the room, the redhead is getting married to another man. Her response? “Unless you can give me a reason not to.”
10×10 — April avoids giving Jackson a wedding invitation to spare Matthew’s feelings. When he questions if he should even be there, she doesn’t hesitate before telling him that she wants him there because he’s her friend. She continues to say that she can’t go through with the wedding if she doesn’t have his blessing. He assures her that she has it, but ends up saying he doesn’t think he should be there.
10×12 — It’s April’s wedding day and we all know how weddings go when it comes to Grey’s Anatomy. First off, we have a small but adorable scene with Jackson teasing April who ends up at the hospital searching for her missing bridesmaids. She straight out asks Jackson if he’s gonna be there and he responds by asking her if she wants him there. She tells him she does and he then assures her that he will. At the actual wedding, Mark’s final words of wisdom finally seem to set in for Jackson. “If you love someone, you tell them. Even if you’re scared that it’s not the right thing. Even if you’re scared that it’ll cause problems. Even if you’re scared that it will burn your life to the ground, you say it, and you say it loud and you go from there.” And he does, he stands up and tells April that he loves her with a speech that is bound to make you fall in love with their relationship all over again.
10×13 — This episode gives us one of the most aesthetically pleasing openings as a smiling April and Jackson run out of the barn, ready to be together. Although it quickly sets in once they are in the car and it seems like April might be doubting her choice, but one look into Jackson’s eyes and her decision is made. After a passionate kiss, she tells him to drive and that’s it. The runaway bride does eventually have her freakout moment, getting out of the car and saying she can’t do it, but Jackson gives another speech, this one telling April that he wants “the whole damn thing.” He suggests getting married at Lake Tahoe and the two share an adorable moment where she says yes and runs into his arms. He twirls her around and kisses her before the two run back to the car. We also get to see a first look at their married life, Jackson cooking them dinner and April greeting him when she gets home before they come to the conclusion that due to new hospital rules, they won’t be able to keep their marriage a secret for much longer.
10×14 — Japril is in their “secret little marriage bubble,” as April calls it, which allows us to see the couple in their honeymoon phase. They do eventually decide to start telling people, starting by telling the board, before we also see a patient ask Jackson on a date. He lets her down easy, telling her that he already has plans with his wife.
10×16 — Jackson’s mother, Catherine, is obviously not happy with her son’s spontaneous marriage and doesn’t hide it. Catherine wants the couple to sign a postnuptial agreement, but Jackson doesn’t hesitate to defend his wife and his character from his mother’s accusations. April offers to sign it as an olive branch and eventually Jackson agrees. The two go back to speak to Catherine, April telling her she’ll sign the papers, but then her mother in law brings up children. She begins to question them, trying to get them to see the issues with not thinking things through. Jackson defends both their relationship and decision to his mother and when the fighting doesn’t stop, April finally speaks up. She expresses that they will figure everything out and says that they made the choice to get married because they love each other and they want to spend every day together until they die.
She then apologizes for hurting Catherine by only giving her a phone call after they got married rather than letting her be involved. Jackson then goes to apologize to his mother who asks him what the hell he was thinking. His response? A simple yet powerful, “I love her.” He continues by saying he’s sorry before adding that April is the one.
10×21 — After having their first fight on how they would raise their children, Jackson asks April to come back home. He tells her that they made a vow to push through these things together and that they do believe in the same core values. April still sticks on their hypothetical children and Jackson tries to steer the conversation away from that, but April tells him they can’t because she’s pregnant and the children aren’t hypothetical anymore.
10×22 — April and Jackson officially find out they are pregnant and are obviously still trying to figure everything else, Jackson finds April in the hospital chapel. Jackson tells April that he will go to Church with her and their kids every Sunday, knowing how much it means to her. His only condition? They get waffles after.
10×24 — “Our baby will be fine because he’ll be fine or she will be cause she’ll have us.”
11×09 — April and Jackson deal with the news that their baby has osteogenesis imperfecta. April tries to throw herself into her work and Jackson tries to help his wife. The moment when she finally allows herself to break down, telling Jackson that they’re having a boy as he takes her into his arms to hold her while she cries, is heartbreaking.
11×11 — No words can honestly describe this heartbreaking and devastating episode. After finding out their baby has type II, April struggles with their next steps. Catherine helps her and her son figure things out and the scene is one that will stick with the audience for more reasons than one. Jackson promises he’ll do everything April needs and the couple begins the painful process. Drew and Williams’ raw talent shine in the episode and work so well off of each other.
From Drew’s performance as she questions how God could do this to her to Williams’ scene begging God in the chapel to show up for his wife, there truly are no words. April finally seems to get the sign she needed, telling her husband she’s ready before they head upstairs. We watch April deliver her baby and the couple holds their son for the first time. We see him get baptized and then we see him let go. While most of the scene has no dialogue, that final moment spoken is more than enough.
11×16 — Jackson waits to walk April home, but April airs her frustrations out about her husband treating her like she’s fragile after losing the baby. Jackson says he will never stop watching or worrying about her after sharing his own struggles over the loss. April expresses that she needs to feel like herself again and that she’s still his wife.
11×22 — April decides to go with Owen to the army and Jackson struggles with her choice, especially when she decides to stay away longer. On Christmas, it seems like April wants to extend her time away for the fourth time, but their call ends up being cut off when something happens on April’s end. Worried about his wife’s safety, Jackson keeps trying to call back, but the calls keep failing.
11×23 — New Year’s Day, Jackson is on the phone desperately needing answers about where his wife is after their phone call but isn’t able to get any. April shows up at the hospital to surprise Jackson and the scene is small yet powerful as Jackson hugs his wife.
11×25 — April wants to go back to Jordan, but Jackson, still in a lot of pain from the loss, says he’s not sure he can be here when she comes back. Despite the ultimatum, we later find out she does end up leaving.
12×02 — After coming home from the previous episode, April is forced to quarantine after Arizona sees a rash on her back. Stuck in the bubble and desperate to speak to her husband, she pages him 911. April is ready to fight for him and her marriage, but Jackson doesn’t want to fight anymore. When he comes back to clear her, April tells him that she’ll fight to the death for both of them, refusing to let this be the end of their marriage.
12×08 — April: “I want to end where we began in a bed, in love, and I just want to keep us there for a minute.”
12×11 — Also known as Japril the Movie, this entire episode is a must-watch for any fan of the couple. Jackson serves April with divorce papers after the two try counseling for a few weeks. We get the famous, “When I look at you and I stop thinking… when I let myself just be with you. All I’m saying is that I don’t think what I wanted anymore and what I want… I want you.” This episode basically gives us a rewind of their relationship, us going through the scenes that were missing throughout their story. We see everything from them dealing with the loss of Samuel to them dancing in celebration and telling everyone they’re pregnant. April and Jackson’s wedding moments are finally shown, Jackson comforts April after she loses Reed, and we even see their first introduction at Mercy West. When we end up back at the divorce scene, April simply asks if her husband really wants this and when he doesn’t answer, she signs the papers. Just before the episode ends, we find out April is pregnant.
12×14/12×15 — April tells Alex the reason she isn’t telling Jackson about the baby is that they’ve been through enough and because he never got over the last time. Arizona ends up telling Jackson and we see in the next episode (12×15) Jackson is mad that she didn’t tell him before they signed the divorce papers.
12×19 — “You were my best friend, April… my favorite person.” April and Jackson make things right before she lets him feel the baby kick for the first time. The moment has emotion, beauty, and sweetness, as we are reminded of all that these characters have been through.
12×22 — They make a plan to raise the baby together without fighting and while this could be considered a minor scene, it’s an important one in their relationship.
12×24 — April is stranded with Ben at Meredith’s and is forced to have a C-section. Ben has to deliver the baby while Jackson, Arizona, and Bailey are on the phone. April tells Ben that if she’s bleeding out, to save the baby. Jackson immediately protests and begs him to save both of them. Ben successfully delivers the baby but there is a split moment of silence and you see the pure fear on Jackson’s end. Jackson is there to run out to the ambulance when she gets to the hospital. While April is in surgery, we see Jackson holding his baby girl and we soon find out that April is stable and okay. An adorable moment with the new family is shown as April holds their baby with Jackson smiling as he watches.
13×04 — “I don’t want you to move out.” “I don’t want to move out either.”
13×16 — Japril the Sequel is another episode that is a must watch for any Japril fan. The two fly to Montana to perform a surgery, but the trip ends up also gives Jackson the chance to meet his father. Jackson and April end up sleeping together before heading home, which will no doubt complicate things in the future.
14×02 — They finally talk about what happened in Montana but they are on different pages. April allows herself to share just how much pain she’s in with everything before saying she thinks its time for her to move out.
14×13 — Jackson expresses his concern for his ex-wife and asks if they can talk about things. April shuts the idea down, but its obvious to those who know her that she’s going through something.
14×16 — April is spiraling and Jackson tries desperately to help. We get a glimpse at the former best friends before April tries to take things further. Jackson tells her this isn’t going to help her and she needs to face things, but she runs away.
14×18 — April finally opens up to Jackson about everything she went through and delivers another famous quote for the couple. “But I realize that even when it felt like He wasn’t there… you were.”
14×23 — This is easily one of the best Japril episodes, filled with so much important content for the couple. April and Matthew get in a life threatening accident and the doctors decide to hide the news from Jackson until he gets out of surgery. Jackson overhears someone getting blood for April and immediately runs into the room. When he thinks they’re stopping compressions, he immediately goes to get involved, but they insist they have things under control. Jackson is in pure distress and it is reminiscent of when April thought that Jackson had died.
From throwing his body over hers to get them to stop shocking her to staying by her side the entire time, we see how much love Jackson has for his ex-wife. One of the most touching and moving moments for the couple is Jackson holding April’s hand and begging God not to take her away from him, promising to do anything to keep her alive.
14×24 — Jackson tells April that he’s happy for her after Matthew proposes before asking her if she wants him to stay for the wedding. She immediately says yes, starting to say that he’s her person, which has been something that never went away despite everything they’ve gone through. He doesn’t hesitate to say that he’s staying after hearing those words.