‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Alum Katherine Heigl Reveals Her Least Favorite Scene from the Show: ‘That Was Weird’

Katherine Heigl’s departure from Grey’s Anatomy in 2010 was not without controversy. Playing Dr. Izzie Stevens since the show’s debut in 2005, Heigl had become a main character on the medical drama yet was angling for a film career.

Withdrawing from the Emmy Awards in 2008, Heigl was vocal about what storylines she preferred and which she’d rather ditch. One scene in particular from her tenure on the show still ranks as her “least favorite.”

Katherine Heigl of 'Grey's Anatomy'
Katherine Heigl of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ | Scott Garfield/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ star withdraws from the Emmys

Though Heigl won an Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in 2007, the Grey’s star decided to take her name out of the running the following year. Expressing her disappointment with the storylines she had been given during that season, Heigl’s comments did not sit well with show creator Shonda Rhimes.

“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,” Heigl stated, according to Entertainment Weekly. “In addition, I did not want to potentially take away an opportunity from an actress who was given such materials.”

While rumors spread that Heigl was purposely trying to get out of her contract to take on film roles, the actress later regretted her statements and apologized to Rhimes.

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“I went in because I was really embarrassed,” Heigl told Howard Stern in 2016, according to Vanity Fair. “So I went in to [see] Shonda and said, ‘I’m so sorry. That wasn’t cool, and I should not have said that.’ And I shouldn’t have said anything publicly. But at the time, I didn’t think anyone would notice. . . . I just quietly didn’t submit and then it became a story, and I felt I was obligated to make my statement, and [I should have just said], ‘Shut up, Katie.’”

Katherine Heigl and the deer

In an April 2010 interview with Entertainment Weekly shortly after her departure from the show, Heigl was asked again about her Emmy withdrawal and how she handled it.

“At the time I thought I was doing the right thing. And I wanted to be clear that I wasn’t snubbing the Emmys,” the Grey’s alum explained. “I was a little defensive about my season because I thought I hadn’t had a great one. And a lot of that had to do with me and my performances.”

Giving an example in the type of material she wasn’t thrilled with, Heigl referenced an episode where she brought a deer back to life.

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“The only thing I can really remember is when I saved the deer,” Heigl recalled. “Shonda was always really great about giving me her backstory and telling me what she’s thinking, [but] on the page sometimes you’re like, ‘I’m sorry, what? What do you mean she’s saving a deer? Wait, she’s shocking it back to life?! Hold on now!’”

Izzie and Alex … and Denny?

When Heigl was written off of Grey’s, Izzie ends up leaving her husband Alex (portrayed by Justin Chambers) and filing for divorce. Ironically, when Chambers decided to leave the show, his character moves out of Seattle to reunite with Izzie and their two children (though Izzie is mentioned in name only).

Another past romance for Izzie included her relationship with cardiac patient Denny Duquette (played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Dying from a stroke following a heart transplant, Denny later revisits the show as a ghost trying to contact Izzie. Heigl confessed that the storyline resulted in some very awkward setups.

Katherine Heigl and Jeffrey Dean Morgan of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ | Scott Garfield/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

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“I can tell you my least favorite scene was when Izzie and Alex get intimate with Denny the ghost in the room,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “That was like, ‘Oh, man.’ And I really thought it was going to feel different when it actually played on camera. But, oh, man, that was weird.”