Award-winning actress Katherine Heigl admits that she regrets how she left “Grey’s Anatomy” in 2010. The actress played one of the show’s leads, Isobel Katherine Stevens, popularly known as Izzie during her time on. She starred in over 100 episodes before exiting the long-running series.
Despite being a crowd favorite, Heigl left her Emmy award-winning role in 2010 after dropping some controversial comments concerning the work practices of the show. Years later, she revealed that her main reason for leaving was because of her growing family.
Read on to learn more.
Katherine Heigl Said ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Wasn’t Ideal For Her Health
Heigl recently opened up about why she left “Grey’s Anatomy” back in 2010 and some things she could have done differently at the time. She spoke to SiriusXM host Bevy Smith during an interview on Thursday, where she described the work environment in the show as having a level of “insanity,” at least during that period.
Heigl claimed the environment was not ideal for her health, and as a result, she left in a panic. “Like, if I could have found a way to work within it, that could have also worked for me. But I only saw it as this one thing: I was up here at a level of intensity that was not healthy for me. And I just kind of fled in a panic,” she explained per Insider.
Heigl admitted that although she felt like she made the right decision at the time, she wished she had given herself more time to think it through calmly. She said, “I look back at it, and sometimes I go, ‘God, I wish I had just calmed down a moment. Taken a breath, thought it through, had some conversations about this possibility. What about this possibility? How about if I do, you know, just this many episodes a season?”
She Suffered ‘Heightened Anxiety’ On Set
Further on in the interview, Heigl disclosed that during her time on the hit hospital drama set, she suffered “heightened anxiety.” This was reportedly a result of the strenuous working conditions “Grey’s Anatomy” allegedly had, which she spoke about before her 2010 exit.
The Emmy winner said, “I think with ‘Grey’s’ at that time, I didn’t feel I had any other choice [but to leave]. I was breaking, it was breaking me, and I was young.” Heigl also talked about how fragile her mental health was while filming her sixth season on the show.
The “27 Dresses” actress said, “I mean, I was vibrating at a level that I was gonna get sick, and, you know, I did get mentally sick.” Heigl eventually left the series in season six after making controversial statements in an interview.
Katherine Heigl Said ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Had Poor Working Conditions
Heigl joined David Letterman on “The Late Show with David Letterman” in an interview in 2009. In a move that astounded some and shocked others, the actress slammed “Grey’s Anatomy” producers for providing poor work conditions for the cast. During the controversial interview, she noted that they worked 17 hours a day and called it “cruel and mean.”
The actress said, “Our first day back was Wednesday. It was — I’m going to keep saying this because I hope it embarrasses them — a 17-hour day, which I think is cruel and mean.” Heidi left the show and her role as Izzie a year later, leading fans to believe that her comments during the late-night show had prompted the exit.
She, however, spoke on the issue in 2021 and cleared up rumors surrounding the reason for her departure. While speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Heigl explained that she started a family during that period, which altered many things in her life, including her desire to work full-time on the show.
Ellen Pompeo Showed Support For Katherine Heigl
At the time of her 2009 controversial interview, Heigl was involved in several popular movies, including “The Ugly Truth,” which was released in 2009. As a result, several “Grey’s Anatomy” fans, in addition to people in the industry, accused her of being ungrateful and proud due to movie features.
Over a decade after the incident and the backlash Heigl faced, her co-star on the show Ellen Pompeo admitted that the Emmy-winning actress was right. During an April episode of “Tell Me with Ellen Pompeo,” the actress recalled Heigl’s comments and commended her for being “ballsy” enough to say it.
“I remember Heigl said something on a talk show about the insane hours we were working. And she was 100% right,” Pompeo said. “She was f**king ballsy for saying it. And she was telling the truth. She wasn’t lying.”