Katherine Heigl Sets the Record Straight on Her Controversial Grey's Anatomy Exit

After leaving Grey's Anatomy in 2010, Katherine Heigl is finally ready to share her side of the story about why she really exited the ABC series.

By Alyssa Morin Sep 18, 2021 10:27 PMTags

As Meredith Grey once said on Grey's Anatomy, "Knowing is better than wondering."

Katherine Heigl, who played beloved character Izzie Stevens on the hit ABC series, is ready to tell her side of the story about why she departed Grey's Anatomy in 2010.

Despite being embroiled in controversy for her comments about the show's working conditions, withdrawing herself from Emmys consideration and more at the time, Katherine is setting the record straight about the details surrounding her shocking exit.

"I started a family, and it changed everything," the 42-year-old star shared in author Lynette Rice's new book, How to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey's Anatomy, in an exclusive excerpt published by The Daily Telegraph on Sept. 18. "It changed my desire to work full-time."

The Knocked Up actress, who adopted Nancy Leigh, now 12, in 2008 with her husband Josh Kelley, explained, "I went on family leave...and just got to be a mom, and it changed my whole perspective…that was really the turning point."

Grey's Anatomy: Epic Romances

According to Katherine, she had a conversation with Shonda Rhimes, the series' creator, showrunner and writer, about her desire to move on from Grey's Anatomy.

"So before I was due back, I spoke again to Shonda about wanting to leave," the 27 Dresses actress recalled. "Then I waited at home until I was given the formal okay that I was off the show. The rumors that I refused to return were totally untrue."

Frank Ockenfels/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

"[Shonda] wanted to try to figure out how I could do both [parenting and Grey's], and I kind of wanted to do both," Katherine explained. "There wasn't a great way to compromise the work schedule that didn't negatively affect the crew or the cast. It wasn't feeling fair to them or the show to ask them to bend around my needs."

By 2010, Katherine's character disappeared completely from the show.

Although the star's departure from the series wasn't exactly a smooth transition, she admits she is partly to blame—especially when it comes to the public perception of how things went down.

"The 'ungrateful' thing bothers me the most. And that is my fault," she said. "I allowed myself to be perceived that way. So much about living life, to me, is about humility and gratitude. And I've tried very hard to have those qualities and be that person, and I'm just so disappointed in myself that I allowed it to slip."

She added, "Of course, I'm grateful. How can I not be?"

At this time, Shonda Rhimes and ABC have yet to publicly comment on Katherine's comments in Lynette's new book.

How to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey's Anatomy by Lynette Rice will be released on Sept. 28. Click here to read about other shocking Grey's Anatomy exits from E! News' exclusive excerpt from the book.

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