Before he became a chart-topping international rap sensation, Drake was better known as wheelchair-riding Jimmy Brooks on Degrassi, a role he played for several seasons (under his real name, Aubrey Graham) on the enduring made-in-Canada teen drama.
However, in a new intervew with W magazine he discusses burning the candle at both ends during his time on Degrassi, spending days on set and nights in the studio trying to launch his music career, a juggling act that he claims eventually led to his firing from the show.
“That was part of the reason I was kicked off the show,”; says Drake. “I’d sleep in my dressing room and then be in front of the cameras again by 9 a.m. Eventually, they realized I was juggling two professions and told me I had to choose. I chose this life.”;
One person who remembers that going down differently is Degrassi co-creator Linda Schuyler, who has a conflicting recollection of “Aubrey’s”; departure from the show.
“I’m hoping there was just some miscommunication here, because if that’s the perception nothing could make me sadder,” she told BuzzFeed Canada.
In fact, Schuyler points out that because of the shooting that landed the character in a wheelchair, Jimmy was held back a year, meaning the character’s “graduation”; resulted in Drake actually sticking around the show longer than most actors.
In any case, Schuyler says the timing of his departure was “absolutely brilliant because we knew Aubrey was juggling his music,”; she said. “Not only did we know it, we helped him with it,” adding that producers actually planned shoots around Drake’s recording schedule.
“His character had run its course, so we were nothing but supportive,”; she says of his exit, and says that to her, Drake will always be Aubrey. “He’s my boy Aubrey,” she admitted to Buzzfeed Canada with a laugh, “but I’m very proud of Drake, let me tell you.”;
Drake’s publicist told BuzzFeed Canada “he had no further comments about Degrassi at this time.”;