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Katherine Heigl is finally setting the record straight about her infamous exit from Grey's Anatomy. The actress, who played Izzie Stevens, left the hit show more than a decade ago, in a moment that was somehow even more popcorn-worthy than the show's onscreen drama. As addictively dramatic as Heigl's breakup with the show was to watch unfold, however, fans were largely left to speculate/let their imaginations run wild when it came to the behind-the-scenes details of what led to Izzie's abrupt goodbye.
Now, Heigl is finally ready to share her truth about the whole situation. She went on the record with her side of the story for Lynette Rice's new book, How to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey's Anatomy.
According to Heigl, the real story was much less dramatic than it seemed in the media. In 2008, Heigl and her husband, Josh Kelley, adopted their daughter Nancy Leigh and, just as you would obviously expect it to, parenthood changed Heigl's priorities and perspective on life in general.
"I went on family leave...and just got to be a mom, and it changed my whole perspective…that was really the turning point," she explained in an early excerpt from the book, according to E! Online.
Heigl gives a pretty detailed account of her decision to take a step back, including how she broached the subject with Grey's Anatomy showrunner Shonda Rhimes—which sounds like it was all pretty civil and profesh and nothing like the dramatic showdown that was rumored at the time:
"So before I was due back, I spoke again to Shonda about wanting to leave. 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.
"[Shonda] wanted to try to figure out how I could do both [parenting and Grey's], and I kind of wanted to do both. 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."
Heigl seems to be in a good place about the controversial situation, emotionally-speaking, but she did admit to having one regret from that chapter in her life.
"The 'ungrateful' thing bothers me the most. And that is my fault," she said, referencing the backlash she faced after she removed herself from consideration for an Emmy for her work on the show in 2008. "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. Of course, I'm grateful. How can I not be?"
At the time, Heigl released a statement explaining her decision, saying, "I do not feel I was given the material this season to warrant a nomination." The statement prompted a Grey's source described as a "key show insider" to reach out to Entertainment Weekly to issue a public clapback.
"The show bent over backwards to accommodate her film schedule, and then she criticizes the show for lack of material?" the source said. "It’s an ungrateful slap in the face to the very writers responsible for her Emmy win in the first place."
How to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey's Anatomy by Lynette Rice is set to be released on Sept. 28, if you need more Grey's intel in your life.
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