An emotional journey. During the Tuesday, January 5, return of This Is Us, Kate (Chrissy Metz) revealed to Toby (Chris Sullivan) a secret she’s kept in for years: When she was a teenager, she had an abortion after getting pregnant with abusive ex-boyfriend Marc (Austin Abrams). Not only had she not told Toby, but she never told anyone.
During the episode, she looked up Marc and found out he worked in San Diego. So, she and Toby took a ride and visited him. When she approached him, for the first time, Kate stood up to Marc and said her peace, allowing herself to finally move forward with her life.
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“I feel like that [moment] is a turn for the better that she’s taking,” Metz, 40, told Us Weekly exclusively. “These are things that she’s literally carried around for years — secrets, guilt, shame, sadness and sorrow — that she has never been able to really process. I don’t think she was strong enough to process it, and now that she is because she is unconditionally loved and she is doing the things that she never thought she’d ever do, like being a mother and being a loving relationship, now I think she has the strength to say, ‘OK. This is a turning point for me.’”
While there was an empowering moment of standing up to Marc, the abortion story line wasn’t easy to take on.
“I think our job is to bring [that] art imitates life. I think it’s really important to approach subjects that are difficult to sort of discern, to figure out on your own, to hopefully feel like you’re less alone in whatever you’re going through,” the actress said. “So, in that way, I was like, ‘Wow.’ This is something that I have personally not experienced, but I know people who have and have made that decision. And I think that it’s so important for people, whether you agree with it or not, art is supposed to bring sympathy, empathy and understanding to people.”
The Breakthrough star noted that it was “challenging” to film, feeling the pressure to “do it right by the character and this life event.”
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She added, “It’s always emotional when you think about somebody going through something that — uncharted territory that they have no idea how to maneuver through it. Kate, in particular, has been through so much as has every human on this planet.”
During the episode, Toby was visibly hurt and a bit confused about why Kate never confided in him — especially when they were struggling to get pregnant. While he understands going forward, Metz said, he’s also still upset.
“When you trust [someone] and you have been in their lives for a certain amount of time, you think you know what they’ve been through,” she shared. “I would imagine that it’s going to be brought up more [in the future].”
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Though Kate kept the abortion secret from her mom (Mandy Moore), Rebecca and Kate have grown closer over the years. That’s not to say Kate will tell her mom what she went through in the past.
“She’s definitely gonna confide in someone. I don’t know if it will be her mom, or if that would be part of her journey or if that will be important for her,” Metz said. “I would imagine that it might.”
This Is Us airs on NBC Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET.
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