It’s the quote that continues to haunt Katherine Heigl.
But it’s NOT the reason she got fired, Katherine Heigl insists.
In 2008, the actress took herself out of the running to receive an Emmy Awards, stating through her publicist:
”I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination. In addition, I did not want to potentially take away an opportunity from an actress who was given such materials.”
Talk about hurling your show’s runners way, way under the bus, right?
Heigl had earned her a supporting actress Emmy a year prior to uttering this spiteful nonsense… and was then out of Grey’s Anatomy just two years later.
Because she came across as bitter and ungrateful and creator Shonda Rhimes simply had to get rid of the rising star’s character, Dr. Izzie Stephens?
This has long been the assumption of television fans everywhere.
However, Heigl is featured in Lynette Rice’s new book, How to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey’s Anatomy, and she now says otherwise.
“I started a family, and it changed everything,” the 42-year-old says in this revealing book, adding:
“It changed my desire to work full-time.”
The actress — whose movie career fizzled and who now appears on the drama Firefly Lane – adopted daughter Nancy Leigh, now 12, in 2008 with her husband Josh Kelley.
“I went on family leave…and just got to be a mom, and it changed my whole perspective…that was really the turning point,” Heigl explains in the book.
According to the polarizing star, she had a conversation with Rhimes about her desire to move on from Grey’s Anatomy and made it clear well over a decade ago that she wanted out.
“Before I was due back, I spoke again to Shonda about wanting to leave,” Heigl recalled.
“Then I waited at home until I was given the formal okay that I was off the show. The rumors that I refused to return were totally untrue.”
Izzie sort of just disappeared from the beloved drama.
She wasn’t killed off. Nor was she given some lengthy, formal storyline that detailed why she left.
In the many years since, other departed cast members (such as Isiah Washington, T.R. Knight and even Patrick Dempsey, despite the circumstances behind his departure) have made cameos/returns to Grey’s Anatomy.
But not Heigl.
Rhimes will barely even say her name all this time later.
There’s clearly bad blood between the actress and the producer.
“[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 told Rice for the book.
“There wasn’t a great way to compromise the work schedule that didn’t negatively affect the crew or the cast.
“It wasn’t feeling fair to them or the show to ask them to bend around my needs.”
All this said, Heigl is well aware of her reputation and she does take some responsibility for it.
The ‘ungrateful’ thing bothers me the most. And that is my fault,” she says.
“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?”
How to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey’s Anatomy by Lynette Rice will be released on September 28.
It is filled with 80-plus interviews with cast and crew members and aiims to tell the behind-the-scenes story of one of the most successful shows in the history of television.
Previously, excerpts from a chapter about Dempsey went viral, creating headlines across the Internet because they outlined all the ways Dempsey was allegedly a menace on set.
(The actor left Grey’s Anatomy about halfway through Season 11.)
“There were times where Ellen [Pompeo] was frustrated with Patrick and she would get angry that he wasn’t working as much,” producer Jeannine Renshaw told Rice, while another producer said Dempsey was responsible for some “HR issues,” adding:
“He sort of was terrorizing the set. Some cast members had all sorts of PTSD with him.
“He had this hold on the set where he knew he could stop production and scare people…
“He didn’t like the inconvenience of coming in every day and working. He and Shonda were at each other’s throats.”