Katherine Heigl is speaking out about the controversy surrounding those interviews which led to her being labelled difficult.
The actress reunited with Ellen Pompeo for Variety’s “Actors on Actors” interview series, with the pair talking about their time on “Grey’s Anatomy”.
Heigl — who played Izzie Stevens — left the show back in 2010, while Pompeo — who starred as Meredith Grey for 19 seasons — walked away earlier this year.
Heigl’s time on the show came with some controversy. During the 2008-09 season, she publicly announced that she would abstain from submitting herself for Emmy consideration that year, as she “did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination.”
After her exit, she complained about the 17-hour workdays on the much-loved show while doing an interview with David Letterman. The chat came after she sparked controversy for calling her 2007 flick “Knocked Up” “a little sexist” in a Vanity Fair interview.
Katherine Heigl on her controversial 2007 interview: "I was so naive. I got on my soapbox and I had some things to say, and I felt really passionate about this stuff." #ActorsOnActors https://t.co/lemCD7wIOj pic.twitter.com/uPfc9EF05s
— Variety (@Variety) June 6, 2023
Heigl said of hitting headlines for having her say and complaining about the long hours at the time, “I was so naive. I got on my soapbox and I had some things to say, and I felt really passionate about this stuff. I felt really strongly. I felt so strongly that I also got a megaphone out on my soapbox. There was no part of me that imagined a bad reaction. I felt really justified in how I felt about it and where I was coming from.
“I’ve spent most of my life — I think most women do — being in that people-pleasing mode. It’s really disconcerting when you feel like you have really displeased everybody. It was not my intention to do so, but I had some things to say, and I didn’t think I was going to get such a strong reaction.
“I was in my late 20s. It took me until probably my mid- to late-30s to really get back to tuning out all of the noise and going, ‘But who are you? Are you this bad person? Are you ungrateful? Are you unprofessional? Are you difficult?’ Because I was confused! I thought maybe I was. I literally believed that version, and felt such shame for such a long time, and then had to go, ‘Wait. Who am I listening to? I’m not even listening to myself. I know who I am.'”
Pompeo insisted, “You were just a little early, because they came out with this thing where everybody has their own megaphone and they get a blue check. It’s called Twitter. You were just a little ahead of your time, lady,” as Heigl joked, “Damn it, I should have waited for Twitter. I’d be huge!”
Pompeo added, “Somehow now, collectively, the whole world gets to criticize everything and tell everybody to f**k off, and it’s OK. But when you did it…” while Heigl responded, “They didn’t like me. Oh, well. What are you going to do?”
Pompeo pointed out: “Listen, nobody likes a super confident woman. And that’s why they’re taking away reproductive rights, and voting rights all over this country, is because they don’t want women to find their power. They don’t want women to have a voice. They don’t want women to have control because they know that we can do it better than they can.”
Elsewhere in the candid chat, Heigl said of experiencing “Grey”s success after being a child actor: “It made life easier. But then you get older, and they expect you to make some choices for yourself. Then ‘Grey’s’ hit, and the success happened. I think that gave me this confidence that was a false sense of confidence.
“It was rooted in something that couldn’t and maybe wouldn’t always last for me. So then I started getting real mouthy, because I did have a lot to say, and there were certain boundaries and things that I was not OK with being crossed. I didn’t know how to fight that.”