How Katherine Heigl Currently Feels About Her Grey's Anatomy Controversy

Hindsight can often be the strongest of the human senses, as it’s always better to evaluate a situation after there has been time to reflect on how it went wrong the first time. Just imagine how powerful it is in Hollywood, where bad decisions that take two seconds to make can lead to actual years of grief. With that in mind, it shouldn’t be impossible for you to grasp that former Grey’s Anatomy star Katherine Heigl is pretty regretful for the actions and comments that led to her departure from the hit drama years ago.

I shouldn’t have said anything publicly, but at the time I didn’t think anybody would notice; I didn’t think that journalists would see who submitted and who didn’t. I just quietly didn’t submit. And then it became a story and then I felt I was obligated to make my statement.

As someone occasionally guilty of doing things without proper consideration, I get how she might have thought her personal activism might have stayed limited to her own attention. But then I’m also not a famous Emmy-winning actress biting the hand that gave me the biggest job of my career, so my comprehension of her thought process is moot.

In case you forgot, back in 2008, Heigl pulled her name from Emmy contention and then stated in interviews that she thought the material the show was giving her wasn’t Emmy-worthy. That made her a target for not only the giant Grey’s Anatomy fanbase, but also the show’s creator Shonda Rhimes, and the two have been on not-wonderful terms since. Rhimes has remained tied to her views on the matter, but Heigl has backed off in recent years, although not to the point where she’ll likely return to the show. Time doesn’t heal all wounds, even when there are people playing doctors all over the place.

Heigl, who went on to roles in State of Affairs and the ABC pilot Doubt, also told The Howard Stern Show that she realizes how her expectations at the time were unreasonable.

There was a part of me that thought, because I had won the year before, that I needed juicy, dramatic, emotional material, and I just didn’t have that that season. I think there were 12 series regulars on that show, and everybody deserved their juicy, dramatic, emotional season. I’m not a writer, but I imagine it must be very difficult to do that for everybody.

Wise words, Katherine Heigl. Wise words, indeed.

Grey’s Anatomy suffered no long-term losses after Heigl left, and it remains one of primetime’s most popular dramas. We can probably expect for Season 12 to end on an emotional note, but take comfort in knowing it’ll be back for Season 13 later this year with stars who definitely are returning. Watch it every Thursday night on ABC.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.