May 21, 2007 03:40 PM

Katherine Heigl says that despite her differences with Grey’s Anatomy costar Isaiah Washington, who used a homophobic slur to refer to fellow costar T.R Knight earlier this year, she has forgiven him.

“I know that he was very ashamed and that was a necessary emotion to move forward and not backward,” the actress, 28, tells USA Today of Washington. “His attitude and behavior and thought process needed to change, and the only way to do that is to be self-aware and honest. And I think he was. I have forgiven.”

Of the entire incident, she says, “I was ultimately grateful that it opened up a dialogue. To me, I wasn’t making a political stand. I was making a stand about hurting people’s feelings. It’s very simple in my mind. You do not actively seek to hurt other people’s feelings. I don’t care what their sexual orientation, race or gender. You don’t do that.”

In the larger scheme of things, she says, “Enough with the Michael Richards. Enough with the Mel Gibson. Enough with this. It’s disgusting. The world is still very bigoted. Go see Borat. I didn’t laugh during that movie. I cried. I was horrified.”

Such a perspective was formed during a maturation process, she says, explaining, “I grew up a lot in the last five years.”

After a year of dating musician Josh Kelly, the two became engaged last June. “My engagement was a very altering moment, going from feeling footloose and fancy-free to ‘This is huge. This isn’t just dating. This is my future husband.’ I’m ready for something like this now.

Despite that, when asked if her wedding is all planned (no date has been announced), she replies, “Not yet. Isn’t that depressing? I think we’re trying to get our acts together and try to do this sooner rather than later. But it requires so much planning and thought if you want to have the kind of wedding I want to have.”

One thing that is on the calendar, however, are kids. “I’ve always planned to adopt anyway, but [becoming engaged] definitely reinforced my want to. I’m done with the whole idea of having my own children. [It] doesn’t seem like any fun. I don’t think it’s necessary to go through all of that.”

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