The popular medical drama series Grey’s Anatomy is still going strong, with 17 seasons and counting. If you’re an avid Grey’s Anatomy fan, you probably remember Izzie Stevens. Izzie was portrayed by Katherine Heigl, who won a Primetime Emmy Award in 2007 for her performance on the show.
However, Izzie Stevens was only on the show for the first five seasons. In 2010, Heigl left the show, much to the fanbase’s surprise, due to circumstances deemed controversial. 11 years later, the actress has opened up about her real reason for leaving the show, in the new book How to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey’s Anatomy by Lynette Rice.
“I started a family, and it changed everything. It changed my desire to work full-time,” Katherine Heigl said. The actress also mentioned that she went on family leave and that her experience becoming a mother had changed her perspective and was the “turning point.”
Due to her sudden exit from the show, rumors had circulated saying that Heigl had simply refused to return to the show, which caused some backlash from fans, accusing her of being “ungrateful.”
However, Heigl revealed that she had spoken with Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes about her wish to move on and leave the show. She had approached Rhimes about wanting to leave before she was due back for the series. The actress added that she had waited for Shonda and the team to give her the go signal that she was off the show and that rumors of her refusing to return were false.
According to Katherine Heigl, part of her wanted to find a way to balance parenting with being on the show and Rhimes had tried to help her figure it out. Unfortunately, they couldn’t find a middle ground that didn’t have a negative effect on the crew and the rest of the cast.
The actress went on to express that she was “disappointed” about being labelled as “ungrateful” when she left the show. She said that she has tried very hard to live life in humility and gratitude, and that she is “disappointed in [herself]” for letting it slip.
“Of course, I’m grateful. How can I not be?” Heigl said.
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