You could make a fairly convincing argument that Katherine Heigl made the biggest mistake of her career in 2008, which caused her to get written off Grey’s Anatomy. Heigl had won an Emmy for her role as Izzie Stevens the year before, but in 2008 she chose to withdraw her name from the race, which is fine. It’s the reason why she did it that got her trouble.
“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,” Heigl told the Los Angeles Times that year. “In addition, I did not want to potentially take away an opportunity from an actress who was given such materials.”
It was a pretty big slap in the face for the writers, and showrunner Shonda Rhimes, to hear one of their own go out and diss them for their work, and obviously it didn’t sit well with them. Heigl’s character was written off the show not long after, but noticeably she wasn’t killed off, which a lot of people thought might mean a return for Izzie.
In 2016, Heigl admitted that she made a huge mistake saying those things about the writers, and even said she had to go to therapy to deal with it.
“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,” Heigl told Howard Stern.
Heigl went to Rhimes to try and apologize for what she said, as well.
“I went in because I was really embarrassed,” Heigl recalled. “So I went in to Shonda and said, ‘I’m so sorry. That wasn’t cool, and I should not have said that.’ And I shouldn’t have said anything publicly. But at the time, I didn’t think anyone would notice … I just quietly didn’t submit and then it became a story, and I felt I was obligated to make my statement, and … ‘Shut up, Katie.'”
“I had never done therapy until a couple years ago,” Heigl continued. “I started going because of the [pauses] scrutiny. I was not handling it well. I was feeling completely like the biggest piece of s–t 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’s been eight years since Heigl left Grey’s Anatomy, and with the show Suits ending soon, which Heigl is on, people are wondering if maybe she could make a return to the long-running medical drama.
“I haven’t [thought about Izzie] in years,” Heigl admitted. “I don’t know. I don’t know if I would or if I wouldn’t. I almost feel like that would almost be distracting again to, sort of, what they’ve done with that show in the years since I left… and what that’s become and what it is to the fans now. It must feel like it would just be kind of like, ‘Yeah, we already let that go… why are you here?’”
When Heigl left the show, her character was recovering from cancer. She was also married to fellow doctor Alex Karev, and that storyline was left a little undone. Karev has since moved on and married Jo Wilson, but Heigl does admit that her hypothetical return could add something to that whole relationship.
“It would be juicy,” she said. “It would bring out maybe a bit of drama.”
Grey’s Anatomy definitely loves the drama, but I don’t think we’ll be seeing an Izzie appearance any time soon.