From Knocked Up to a 'Worst Actress' award: What happened to Katherine Heigl's career.

Not that long ago, Katherine Heigl was everywhere you looked.

She was one of Hollywood’s biggest up and coming actresses, appearing in hit films including King of the Hill, Knocked Up, and 27 Dresses.

But it was her breakout role in Grey’s Anatomy as Dr Izzie Stevens that really skyrocketed Heigl’s success. From the show’s launch in 2005, all the way through to her Emmy award for Best Supporting Actress in 2007, the now 40-year-old appeared to have the world at her feet.

But in 2008, when she was a shoo-in to win her second Emmy, she did something no one saw coming.

She released a statement claiming that the material written for her character in the show’s fourth season did not warrant a nomination for the award, and for that reason, she was pulling out of the running.

“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 organisation, I withdrew my name from contention,” she said.

“In addition, I did not want to potentially take away an opportunity from an actress who was given such materials.”

Heads turned to the showrunner and creator, Shonda Rhimes for a response, but she remained relatively quiet at the time.

Two years later though, in an interview with Oprah, she said: “On some level it stung and on some level I was not surprised. When people show you who they are, believe them. I carry that [mantra] with me a lot. It has served me well.”

Throughout 2008 and 2009, Heigl remained on the show but rumours circulated that she was behaving like a ‘diva’ and that her character was going to be killed off.

Katherine Heigl
Katherine Heigl with Grey's creator Shonda Rhimes. Image: Getty

Meanwhile, Heigl had managed to anger Knocked Up director Judd Apatow with comments she made to Vanity Fair while promoting the movie.

"It (Knocked Up) paints the women as shrews, as humourless and uptight, and it paints the men as loveable, 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… It was hard for me to love the movie."

Apatow hit back at the actress on the Howard Stern show in 2009.

"I hear there's a scene (in movie The Ugly Truth) where she's wearing... underwear... with a vibrator in it, so I'd have to see if that was uplifting for women," he said.

While she managed to secure roles in The Ugly Truth, Killers and Life as We Know It in the following two years, Heigl priced herself out of starring in Valentine's Day, demanding a significantly higher salary than other cast members, according to the New York Post.

Problems on the set of Grey's had been simmering away in the background, and in March 2010, they reached boiling point when Heigl failed to turn up for work.

Rhimes reached an agreement to release Heigl from her contract, effective immediately.

Having Heigl on her set has impacted what Rhimes was willing to tolerate on her shows.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she shared that in her show Scandal, there are "no assholes" and "no Heigls” on set.

"I don't put up with bullshit or nasty people. I don't have time for it."

Next Heigl scored the lead in in One for the Money (2012), but it bombed, and Heigl received a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Actress.

Later that year, Heigl did a backflip on her Grey's Anatomy stance.

When asked if she regretted leaving the show, she told The View:

“Oh yeah, sometimes, yeah. You miss it. I miss my friends... I always felt that if they wanted me to come back and sort of wrap up that storyline … I want them to know that I’m down with it if they want me to, but I completely understand if it doesn’t necessarily work … They’ve got a lot of storylines going on there.”

In 2014, Heigl opened up to Marie Claire UK on her life in the industry.

“This thing that was my best friend for a long time suddenly turned on me and I didn’t expect it," she said.

"I was taken by surprise and angry at it for betraying me."


In a 2016 interview with Howard Stern, she said:

“I went in because I was really embarrassed. So I went in to Shonda and said, ‘I’m so sorry. That wasn’t cool, I should not have said that’,” she said.

“And I shouldn’t have said anything publicly. But at the time, I didn’t think anybody 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 at this stage, it seems to have worked. In 2018, Heigl was cast as Meghan Markle's replacement in Suits.

“Joining Suits was the perfect organic way to not only collaborate with an E.P. I admire deeply but to also become part of a show and cast that I am an immense fan of,” Heigl told T.H.R.

“I have watched Suits from the very beginning and feel incredibly lucky to be the newest member of the Pearson Specter Litt family.”

While Katherine Heigl has faced a rough few years, it seems like this might just be her resurgence.

You will be able to see how she fares in her newest role in the Netflix series: Firefly Lane, with filming having begun earlier this year.

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