Katherine Heigl Reveals Mental Toll of Being Labelled 'Difficult' and If She Would Appear on 'Grey's Anatomy' Again

"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," the actress said

Katherine Heigl is looking back on her acting career and her perceived reputation in the business for being "difficult."

Heigl, 42, said in an interview with the Washington Post, that looking back at 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 Post. "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."

Much of Heigl's reputation was formed during her time seasons on Grey's Anatomy from 2005 to 2010.

Heigl won an Emmy award for her role as Izzy Stevens on the long-running medical drama, but chose to withdraw from the Emmy race the following year.

Katherine Heigl
Katherine Heigl on Grey's Anatomy. Scott Garfield/Walt Disney Television
Katherine Heigl
Katherine Heigl and Justin Chambers on Grey's Anatomy. Scott Garfield/Walt Disney Television

"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 blamed producers for scheduling her for 17-hour workdays while production was reportedly trying to accommodate her schedule.

Heigl said in an interview with Howard Stern in 2016 that she later apologized to creator Shonda Rhimes.

While Heigl didn't mention these dramas directly, she told the Post, "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."

"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.

After starring in a series of romcoms that performed well, Heigl 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 calls the years that followed the "shunning," and told the Post that she suffered from 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, who is set to appear in an executive produce the new Netflix series Firefly Lane. "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."

Several other former Grey's Anatomy stars, including Patrick Dempsey and T.R. Knight, have made guest-star appearances on the drama's current season.

In 2019, Heigl said an interview with Entertainment Tonight that she felt like making an appearance on the show "would almost be distracting," but said the interview with the Post that she "could never say never" to making a return to the series.

"I think it would just be completely dependent upon the team over there, how they feel about it, and the story," she said.

If you or someone you know need mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.

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