Katherine Heigl is looking back on her time in the spotlight, including her perceived reputation for being “difficult.”
The former Grey’s Anatomy actress chatted with the Washington Post about her past and has said that how she was described in her twenties “pisses me off.”
“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,'” the actress told the publication.
“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.”
Heigl appeared on Grey’s Anatomy from 2005 to 2010 as Izzie Stevens, a role that earned her an Emmy award.
However, the actress chose to withdraw from the Emmy race the following year.
“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,” she said in a statement at the time.
She also called out the producers for scheduling 17-hour workdays while production was accomodating her schedule.
Heigl didn’t speak specifically about Grey’s Anatomy when she was speaking about the label.
“At the time, I was just quickly told to shut the f— up. The more I said I was sorry, the more they wanted it,” she elaborated to the Post.
“The more terrified and scared I was of doing something wrong, the more I came across like I had really done something horribly wrong,” she said.
“I knew that whatever they felt I had done that was so awful, they would overlook it if I made them money — but then my films started to make not quite as much money,” she said of appearing in romcoms.
The actress characterized the years that followed as a “shunning,” and she says the whole thing gave her severe anxiety.
“I asked my mom and my husband to find me somewhere to go that could help me because I felt like I would rather be dead,” said Heigl.
“I didn’t realize how much anxiety I was living with until I got so bad that I had to really seek help. You can do a lot of inner soul work, but I’m a big fan of Zoloft.”
The actress also touched on a potential return to Grey’s Anatomy in the interview and felt like it would depend on some factors.
“I think it would just be completely dependent upon the team over there, how they feel about it, and the story,” she said.
Her 27 Dresses co-star, James Marsden, opened up about the perception to the actors in his own statement told the Post, noting that he always attributed her opinions to her “strength of character.”
“She has very strong convictions and strong opinions on certain things, and she doesn’t back down from letting you know if she feels like she’s been wronged in any way,” Marsden said.
“I’ve always seen that as just strength of character.”
Marsden said that he understood how her comments could be “construed as being difficult or ungrateful or whatever,” but those were never Heigl’s intentions.
“But if you know Katie, it’s simply because she has the courage to stand behind something she believes,” he said.
“One element of Katie that I’ve always thought would define her was her drive,” Marsden said.
“I never thought that she was going to be one that idles well. She’s not going to sit there. She’s going to take control and do it her way.”
Heigl can next be seen on Netflix’s Firefly Lane, a new dramedy in which the actor is set as a co-lead as well as an executive producer.
“The greatest love story of all can be between friends. When unlikely duo Tully (Katherine Heigl) and Kate (Sarah Chalke) meet at age fourteen, they couldn’t be more different,” reads the official logline.
“Tully is the brash and bold girl you can’t ignore, while Kate is the mousy shy girl you never notice. But when a tragedy brings them together, they are bonded for life — forever inseparable best friends.”
“Together they experience thirty years of ups and downs — triumphs and disappointments, heartbreak and joy, and a love triangle that strains their friendship.”
“One goes on to fabulous wealth and fame, the other chooses marriage and motherhood — but through the decades, their bond remains — until it faces the ultimate test.”
The cast also includes Ali Skovbye (When Calls the Heart) and Roan Curtis (The Magicians) as young versions of Tully and Kate, plus Ben Lawson (Doubt), Yael Yurman (The Man in the High Castle), and Beau Garrett (Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce).
Firefly Lane launches February 3 on Netflix.