Katherine Heigl and Ellen Pompeo come together again to talk about the drama on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

Katherine Heigl and Ellen Pompeo

Katherine Heigl and Ellen Pompeo, two familiar faces from the hit TV show “Grey’s Anatomy,” recently sat down for a candid conversation about their time on the series. The interview, part of the “Actors on Actors” series by Variety, offered fans a rare glimpse into the thoughts and experiences of these beloved actors.

The discussion revolved around various aspects of “Grey’s Anatomy” and its impact on their lives. Pompeo, who recently exited the show after an impressive run, shared her thoughts on the show’s evolution and its significance in popular culture since its debut in 2005. Heigl, on the other hand, opened up about the controversial comments she made when she left the series and the subsequent backlash she faced.

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Heigl, who portrayed the character Isobel “Izzie” Stevens, left the show after six seasons in 2010. During her time on “Grey’s Anatomy,” Heigl garnered a reputation for being difficult to work with. In 2008, she made headlines by abstaining from awards consideration, claiming that she hadn’t been given material worthy of an Emmy nomination. The following year, she publicly expressed her dissatisfaction with the long work hours on the show, referring to them as “cruel and mean.” Heigl also opened up about seeking help for anxiety after facing criticism for her outspokenness.

Reflecting on those moments, Heigl admitted that she had been naive to the potential backlash her comments might generate. She explained that she felt passionate about certain issues and believed she was using her platform responsibly. The negative reaction she received was disconcerting, as she had always been in a “people-pleasing mode” throughout her life.

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Pompeo, who portrayed the iconic character Meredith Grey, acknowledged the challenges that come with being in the spotlight and creating emotionally intense television content. She supported Heigl’s decision to speak out and labeled her “ballsy” for telling the truth. Pompeo further remarked that if Heigl had made similar statements today, she would be celebrated as a hero. She criticized the industry for its exploitative nature, particularly in terms of the demanding work hours.

During their conversation, Pompeo also revealed an interesting tidbit about her own relationship with “Grey’s Anatomy.” Despite being an integral part of the show, she admitted that she hadn’t watched much of it until recently. The reason was simple—she was always working. However, her perspective changed when her daughter expressed an interest in watching the series. Pompeo obliged and began watching the show alongside her daughter. However, she soon found it challenging to keep up with the episodes, considering the extensive amount of filming she had done for the show.

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Heigl also shared a personal experience related to her work on “Grey’s Anatomy.” She recalled a particularly emotional scene from Season 2 involving the death of a character named Denny Duquette, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Heigl revealed that she drew from her own painful past to channel the emotions required for the scene. The actress had experienced the loss of her brother at a young age and remembered spending a week in the hospital during that difficult time.

The conversation between Heigl and Pompeo offered a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes dynamics of “Grey’s Anatomy” and shed light on the challenges and personal experiences faced by the actors. It provided fans with a deeper understanding of the series and the impact it had on the lives of those involved.