‘Grey’s Anatomy’: Katherine Heigl Reveals if She’d Come Back to the Show

Katherine Heigl was once one of the main characters on Grey’s Anatomy. Her character Isobel Stevens had one of the most riveting storylines in the show’s history. But her story was cut short after Heigl rubbed the show’s creator, Shonda Rhimes, the wrong way. Now, Heigl has revealed if she would ever return to the critically-acclaimed show.

Katherine Heigl and Justin Chambers
Katherine Heigl and Justin Chambers | Eric McCandless/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Why did Katherine Heigl leave the show?

Heigl left Grey’s Anatomy at the highpoint of her career on the show. When she got nominated for an Emmy in 2008, she pulled herself out of the running.

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

Later, Heigl expressed remorse for her words.

 “I was really embarrassed,” she said on The Howard Stern Show. “I went in to 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.'”

After that, Heigl was effectively cut from the show. She made her last appearance in the sixth season in 2010.

Would Katerine Heigl come back to ‘Grey’s Anatomy?’

Though her character has returned to Grey’s by name, Heigl has not actually appeared on the show since her exit. But Heigl is not opposed to coming back to Grey’s Anatomy.

“You know, I just, I don’t know,” she said on E! News’ Daily Pop of if she would come back to the show if asked.

What Katherine Heigl’s exit did to ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

Heigl was one of the main characters on Grey’s Anatomy before she left. So, her exit really changed the direction of the show for a while.

“When word comes down that an actor is leaving the show, and what you’ve got scripted is a wedding…,” showrunner Krista Vernoff told Variety.

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“Katie’s departure changed the course of the Alex-Izzie love story quite abruptly. One of the things about working in television and being a TV writer is you have to be able to pivot. You don’t have to love pivoting, but you’d better be willing to throw everything out and work through the night on a completely different story at the 11th hour.”

Though Heigl left the show, her on-screen husband Alex Karev’s storyline ultimately ended as planned. He ran off to be with Izzie and their two children, despite not seeing her in a number of years. Izzie and Alex’s reunion provides the perfect excuse for Heigl to come back to the show at some point if she and Rhimes are both willing to make it happen.