Katherine Heigl Worries Izzie Returning To Grey's Anatomy Would Be 'Distracting'

Katherine Heigl as Dr Izzie Stevens short wavy hair Grey's Anatomy ABC

Dr. Izzie Stevens is still alive out there, unlike many other Grey's Anatomy characters we lost along the way. It has been 9.5 years since Katherine Heigl decided to leave Grey's Anatomy in Season 6. Her departure was abrupt, midway through the season in Episode 12. There was a lot of behind-the-scenes drama that led to that moment (hence Shonda Rhimes openly slamming Heigl), and Heigl has talked about a lot of it in the past.

Time heals all wounds, and there doesn't seem to be any bad blood left, at least on her end, but is there any room in her heart left for Izzie? In the past, Katherine Heigl said conflicting things on a return to Grey's Anatomy. While promoting her role in the final season of Suits, she had this answer when asked about returning for more Izzie:

That's a tough one. I don't know. I almost feel like that would almost be distracting again to, sort of, what they've done with that show in the seven years since I left, you know, and what that's become and what it is to the fans now. It must feel like it would just be kind of like, 'Yeah, we already let that go, you know? Why are you here?' [laughs]

It has actually been nine, not seven, years since Katherine Heigl left Grey's Anatomy. It sounds like she's worried her return would distract from the current Grey's Anatomy storyline, and distract fans from what they care about heading into the 2019-2020 Season 16.

I'd love to see Izzie again in 2020, because that would mark 10 years since her January 2010 departure in Season 6. Katherine Heigl has talked in the past about wanting to return to see what happened to Izzie, but she also said a return to Grey's Anatomy might feel manipulative. She's clearly still torn, but she also told ET she hasn't given the idea much thought in a long time:

I haven't [thought about Izzie] in years. I don't know. I don't know if I would or if I wouldn’t.

Things didn't end well between Izzie and Alex Karev (Justin Chambers) but she got a major name-drop two years ago. In Grey's Anatomy Season 6, Izzie was fired from the hospital's surgical program. Later, Alex broke up with her, feeling he deserved better. Izzie left Seattle to start fresh, and that was it.

In the 300th episode of Grey's Anatomy, which aired in 2017's Season 14, Alex admitted he hadn't spoken to Izzie in years. He imagined a happy life for her, married with children in a house that smelled like muffins. He didn't want to ruin that happy image, so he never called her.

Katherine Heigl initially said she wanted to exit her Grey's Anatomy contract early in Season 6 to spend more time with her family. Nearly a decade later, Heigl has been trying her luck on TV again. She had main roles in State of Affairs and Doubt, and now she's one of the leads in the final season of Suits, which premieres July 17 on USA Network. TVLine also just announced she'll be following Suits with an adaptation of Firefly Lane for Netflix.

Meanwhile, Grey's Anatomy is still going strong, with ABC giving it a two-season renewal for Season 16 and Season 17. Grey's Season 16 is set to premiere Thursday, September 26 on ABC. There's currently no end in sight, so if The Powers That Be can think of a way for Izzie to return that doesn't seem distracting, manipulative, or any other bad word ... should they go for it? Vote in our poll to share your thoughts.

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Gina Carbone

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.