Before ‘Sweet Magnolias,’ Justin Bruening (AKA Cal Maddox) Starred in This Popular Medical Drama

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After Cal Maddox (played by Justin Bruening) was first introduced to audiences on Netflix’s Sweet Magnolias, fans instantly fell in love with the handsome, yet dashing bachelor.

As Serenity High School’s newly appointed baseball coach, the former MLB player starts a brewing romance with a recently divorced woman named Maddie (JoAnna Garcia Swisher). While fans best know Bruening from the popular drama series, some may not know the 42-year-old actor once starred in one of the most beloved medical dramas on television.

Before joining the ensemble cast of Sweet Magnolias, Bruening played a paramedic in the long-running ABC medical drama Grey’s Anatomy. At the time, the actor played the recurring role of Matthew Taylor, a healthcare professional who worked at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital in Seattle.

On the show, Matthew meets and falls in love with April Kepner (Sarah Drew), an attending trauma surgeon at the hospital. However, their romance was short-lived after April’s ex-boyfriend, Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams), confessed his love for her on their wedding day. Sadly, April left Matthew at the altar and rekindled her relationship with Jackson (talk about heartbreaking).

Since leaving Grey’s Anatomy, Bruening has nothing but good things to say about his time on the show. In fact, the Knight Rider alum was a huge fan of the medical drama before getting the casting call.

“I remember watching the first episode of Grey’s when I was on [All My Children] (AMC),” he said in an interview with TV Insider. (Funny enough, at the time, he was playing a doctor on the soap opera). “Alexa [my wife] wanted to watch it. At first, I was like, ‘Why are we watching this? This is what we do [on AMC]!’ But by episode two, I was hooked.”

From that moment on, Bruening knew that he wanted to be part of the series. But, auditioning was not a smooth process. The actor revealed that he auditioned for the show on multiple occasions before getting that final call-back.

“I had auditioned 20 times for 20 different characters on that show,” he explained. “The casting director, Linda Lowry, told me there was one [earlier] role the producer wanted me for but she said, ‘Look if you use him you, can’t use him again, so maybe save him for something else?’”

He continued, “I later got the part of Matthew, but I had no idea who he’d be involved with. I guessed it was Sarah Drew’s character, based on how sweet and genuine he was.”

We simply couldn’t picture anyone else but Bruening playing Matthew on the medical series.

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