Heigl, who was one of the original cast members of the incredibly successful show, starred as Izzie Stevens, the lovestruck and emotional intern at Seattle Grace Hospital. Her character was one of the main interns that kicked off the first season of the medical drama.
She played this role for five years until March 10, 2010, when she reportedly didn’t show up for work. Later, she and series creator Shonda Rhimes reached an agreement to immediately release her from the contract.
The show has since gone on to have 17 successful seasons. Although Heigl’s breakup with the show was extremely dramatic and drastic, fans were largely left to speculate and let their imaginations run wild when it came to the behind-the-scenes details of what led to Heigl’s abrupt goodbye.
Although it has been over a decade since her departure, the star has just revealed the real reason she left the show. She also cleared up the rumors that surrounded her after she moved on from the role of Izzie Stevens.
The Actual Reason
During an interview with The Daily Telegraph, the star revealed that she primarily left the show in order to focus on her family.
“I started a family, and it changed everything. It changed my desire to work full-time. I went on family leave and just got to be a mum, and it changed my whole perspective. That was really the turning point,” admitted Heigl.
She is a mother to three children—two daughters, Naleigh and Adalaide, and a son, Joshua.
Before she left the show, she mentioned that she spoke to Rhimes about her juggling parenting and her role in the show.
Heigl explained, “so before I was due back, I spoke again to Shonda about wanting to leave. Then I waited at home until I was given the formal OK that I was off the show. The rumors that I refused to return were totally untrue.”
She also added in part, “Shonda wanted to try to figure out how I could do both parenting and Grey’s, and I kind of wanted to do both,” Heigl concluded.
The star has had her fair share of controversy throughout her career. Rumors about her began following the 2008 season after she refused to submit her name for an Emmy consideration. This prompted outrage as she claimed she was not “given the material to warrant a nomination.”
The following year again, during an appearance on David Letterman‘s show, she slammed the show’s producers for making the cast work a 17-hour day and branded them “cruel and mean.”
Another was speculation of whether her behavior was the reason she had to exit the show. She had disagreements with her character’s direction in the fourth season and branded Izzie’s affair with George a ‘ratings ploy.’
Heigl seemed to be in a good place about the controversial situations, but she admitted that she regretted that particular chapter of her life.
“The ‘ungrateful’ thing bothers me the most. And that is my fault,” she said, referencing the backlash she faced after she removed herself from consideration for an Emmy for her work on the show in 2008. “I allowed myself to be perceived that way. So much about living life, to me, is about humility and gratitude. And I’ve tried very hard to have those qualities and be that person, and I’m just so disappointed in myself that I allowed it to slip. Of course, I’m grateful. How can I not be?”
Heigl’s Beautiful Family
Heigl has been married to singer Josh Kelley for over a decade and even after 3 kids, their relationship is still going strong.
Two years into their marriage, the couple decided to expand their family and opted for adoption. This was important for Heigl who grew up with an adopted sister, Meg.
She and Kelley chose to adopt their daughter Naleigh from Meg’s native country of South Korea. In 2012, they adopted a second daughter, Adalaide Marie Hope.
Five years later, they opened up about their only biological child, son Joshua Bishop. They regularly share adorable photos of their sweet family on social media.
Heigl’s Career After ‘Grey’s Anatomy’
After Heigl left “Grey’s Anatomy” in 2010, she landed a few big hits with comedies like “Knocked Up,” and “27 Dresses” while struggling to escape her negative reputation. This period even saw her labeled in some forums as “the most hated actress in Hollywood.”
Recently, Heigl starred in a hugely successful Netflix show titled “Firefly Lane.” The show, which featured Heigl and Sarah Chalke, was a massive hit. The series focused on the lives of two teenage girls who met in the 1970s and became inseparable friends throughout 30 years of ups and downs.
Additionally, “Firefly Lane” Season 2 has officially been confirmed, so it won’t be too long before Heigl returns to our screens.