Once upon a time, Katherine Heigl was a household name. While she got her start on Roswell, her career took off after she snagged the role of Dr. Izzie Stevens on Grey's Anatomy. She then rose to stardom after starring in a number of romantic comedies, like 27 Dresses, Life As We Know It, and The Ugly Truth. Unfortunately, her moment in the spotlight didn't last.
Heigl was at the peak of her career in the early 2000s when one wrong move turned her into an outcast. Her once-rising movie career went flat, and the actress has struggled to find work ever since. You may have heard rumors that Heigl's arrogance on set made her difficult to work with and that some comments she made in an interview pissed off the wrong people, but there was more to her being shunned than that.
Here's why Hollywood won't cast Katherine Heigl anymore:
Heigl Calls Movie Script 'Sexist'
Heigl first stirred the pot in 2008 when she made some negative comments about Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up script. Despite the film being a huge hit, it seems the actress wasn't pleased with her character or how the film portrayed women. Heigl said in an interview with Vanity Fair:
“It was a little sexist. It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys. It exaggerated the characters, and I had a hard time with it, on some days. I’m playing such a bitch; why is she being such a killjoy? Why is this how you’re portraying women? Ninety-eight percent of the time it was an amazing experience, but it was hard for me to love the movie.”
Seth Rogen Responds To Heigl's Comments
Seth Rogen, Heigl's co-star in the film, felt blindsided by her statements as he thought they had a great onscreen dynamic. He responded to Heigl's comments in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter saying:
"People seemed to like it. We were funny together. I was having a really good time, and then when I heard afterward that she didn’t like it, that she seemed to not like the process, and she did not like the end product either, I think when that happens — also your trust feels somewhat betrayed.
... I respect the fact that perhaps she realizes that it has hurt her career, and I don't want that to have happened to her at all because I've said a thousand stupid things and I really like her. The only people who in this situation should in any way take anything from it is me and Judd because we're the ones she was talking about. For other people to not work with her because she didn't like her experience with us is — I think is crazy."
While many have blamed this feud for Heigl's downfall, it was actually just the beginning.
Heigl Criticizes 'Grey's Anatomy' Writers
After winning an Emmy for her work on Grey's Anatomy in 2007, Heigl chose not to submit her work for consideration in 2008. She may have thought no one would even notice, but it quickly gained the attention of the media. When asked why she didn't submit any of her work, the actress dug herself into a hole with this 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 organization, I withdrew my name from contention. In addition, I did not want to potentially take away an opportunity from an actress who was given such materials.”
Many felt that Heigl's statement was a slap in the face to show writers and creator Shonda Rhimes. Others felt the actress was intentionally creating bad blood between her and show producers to get out of her Grey's Anatomy contract, which she did in 2010. Whatever her intentions were, it certainly didn't help her career.
Heigl Backtracks Ten Years Later
Nearly 10 years later, Heigl appeared on Howard Stern’s Sirius radio show and explained that her statement wasn't intended to criticize anyone on the set of Grey's Anatomy but a reflection about how she felt about her collection of work.
“I wasn’t feeling good about my work that season, no. As an actor, if you want to get nominated [for an Emmy], you have to submit your work. That year, I said I’m not going to submit [anything] because there is nothing I feel good about. . . . I didn’t feel good about my performance . . . and there was a part of me that thought, because I had won the year before, that I needed juicy, dramatic, emotional material.”
Despite trying to push the criticism onto her own work, Heigl's interview was seen by the media as an attempt to backpedal on her previous statement.
The Media Trashed Heigl's Reputation
Heigl's comments quickly turned the media against her, and ultimately gave her a reputation for being difficult to work with. Despite there not being any evidence of this, rumors of feuds on the set of Grey's Anatomy quickly began to circulate. One unnamed source told OK! that Heigl's castmates, especially Ellen Pompeo, were happy to see her go, saying:
“Katherine left in such a snit and upset everybody. She got a reputation for being difficult. They don’t call you the ‘most hated in showbiz’ for nothing.”
However, it seems that at least one of Heigl's costars wasn't her biggest fan. Isaiah Washington, who portrayed Dr. Preston Burke, recently had a lot to say on Twitter about Heigl.
Their feud began back in 2007 when Heigl accused Washington of making a homophobic slur towards their co-star T.R. Knight on-set. After Washington addressed her accusations later that same year, Heigl publically stated that Washington "needs to just not speak in public."
Despite the years that have passed and Washington's official apology, there is still bad blood between the two. In November of 2020 Washington tweeted:
"This woman once proclaimed that I should ‘never’ be allowed to speak publicly again. The world agreed with her proclamation back then and protested for my job and my head in 65 languages. I wish I was on Twitter in 2007, because I will NEVER stop exercising my free speech."
The Backlash Traumatized Heigl
The tension on the set of Grey's Anatomy and constant media attention started to affect Heigl's mental health. She reportedly struggled with anxiety and ultimately sought out the help of a therapist. In her interview with Howard Stern she revealed:
“I had never done therapy until a couple years ago. I started going because of the . . . scrutiny. I was not handling it well. I was feeling completely like the biggest piece of shit on the bottom of your shoe. I was really struggling with it and how to not take it all personally and not to feel that there’s something really deeply wrong with me. It was at first very hard."
Heigl's New Netflix Show
Heigl's latest project is the highly anticipated drama series, "Firefly Lane." Based on the book of the same title by Kristin Hannah, the show is set to premiere on Netflix in February 2021. In addition to Heigl, the show also stars Sarah Chalke, Beau Garrett, and Ben Larson.
What do you think, is this Heigl's big chance to get back on top?