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Katherine Heigl on her ‘difficult’ reputation: ‘That s*** pisses me off’

Actor had contentious working relationship with Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes

Ellie Harrison
Friday 29 January 2021 11:35 GMT
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Katherine Heigl has revealed that her former reputation for being “difficult” had a serious impact on her mental health.

While Heigl did not directly refer to Grey's Anatomy, the actor is known to have had a contentious working relationship with the creator of the long-running medical drama Shonda Rhimes.

Heigl won an Emmy for her role as Izzie Stevens in Grey’s Anatomy in 2007, but when she was nominated again in 2008, she chose to opt out of the race, saying in a statement: “I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination, and in an effort to maintain the integrity of the academy organisation, I withdrew my name from contention.” Heigl later apologised to Rhimes.

In a new interview with The Washington Post, Heigl said: “I may have said a couple of things you didn’t like, but then that escalated to ‘she’s ungrateful’, then that escalated to ‘she’s difficult’, and that escalated to ‘she’s unprofessional’. What is your definition of difficult? Somebody with an opinion that you don’t like? Now, I’m 42, and that s*** pisses me off.”

She added: “At the time, I was just quickly told to shut the f*** up. The more I said I was sorry, the more they wanted it. The more terrified and scared I was of doing something wrong, the more I came across like I had really done something horribly wrong.”

Read more: Grey’s Anatomy star opens up on finding ‘closure’ for his character in Covid-themed episode

Justin Chambers and Katherine Heigl in Grey’s Anatomy in 2005 (Rex Features)

Heigl believes that after she left the series in 2010, her own team protected her from knowing about any roles she may have lost out on because of her reputation, fearing it could have sent her “right over the edge”.

The actor called the years that followed the “shunning” and revealed she suffered from severe anxiety.

“I asked my mom and my husband to find me somewhere to go that could help me because I felt like I would rather be dead,” she said. “I didn't realise how much anxiety I was living with until I got so bad that I had to really seek help.”

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Read more - Bridgerton author Julia Quinn says Shonda Rhimes discovered series after running out of holiday reading material

Heigl can next be seen in the Netflix series Firefly Lane, on which she is also executive producer.

In the show, she plays fictional talk-show host Tully Hart and stars alongside Sarah Chalke (Scrubs), who plays her best friend, Kate.

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