Katherine Heigl highlights error with Grey’s Anatomy controversy, 18 years on

Katherine Heigl has highlighted a misconception surrounding an infamous Grey’s Anatomy controversy, 18 years on.

The actor has recently been opening up about her former reputation for being “difficult”, which she previously revealed had a serious impact on her mental health in the late 2000s.

Speculation about her behind-the-scenes behaviour intensified after Heigl, who played Izzie Stevens on the long-running medical drama for six seasons from 2005, criticised the material she was given on the show, which has just concluded its 20th season.

Heigl won an Emmy for her role in 2007, but the following year, she said 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.”

After reports claimed that Heigl had rejected a nomination, the actor apologised to Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes and said of the controversy in January 2021: “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.”

Now, Heigl is reflecting on the Emmy debacle, suggesting she regrets it and pointing out what she says is a misconception about the situation.

“I didn’t turn it down,” she told Let's Be Clear... with Shannen Doherty. “You know, you have to submit yourself. You have to submit your work and then they deliberate and then they decide if they want to give you a nomination. I just didn’t submit my work that year.”

Heigl admitted she “was kind of trying to make a bit of a snarky point about my material that year”, but said she “wasn’t trying to be a dick”.

Katherine Heigl has reflected on a ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ controversy (ABC)
Katherine Heigl has reflected on a ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ controversy (ABC)

She said, in retrospect, she “should have said nothing” and that she had “forgot” to submit her work due to the fact her statement “created such a maelstrom that was so unnecessary”.

She said: “I was also just not feeling my material. I didn’t think I had anything that warranted even the consideration for a nomination. I just wasn’t proud of my work.”

The actor added that she “would never be so bold or so arrogant to turn down a nomination”, and said her intentions were to try to maintain “honour” and “integrity”.