‘Grey’s Anatomy:’ Why Katherine Heigl Publicly Slammed Her Co-Star at the Golden Globes

Starring on Grey’s Anatomy as Dr. Izzie Stevens for almost six seasons, Katherine Heigl stirred up some controversy during her time on the show. Heigl withdrew from her name from the running for the 2008 Emmy Awards, making comments that didn’t sit well with show creator Shonda Rhimes regarding the prime time hit’s less-than-stellar storylines for her character.

Yet even before the Emmy debacle, there was some behind-the-scenes drama on the set where Heigl took a co-star to task during an interview.

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

A major ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ star leaves the show

During Grey’s meteoric rise after premiering in 2005, the show was earning massive ratings and award nominations. During their new heightened fame, some of the cast members were at odds. One scuffle that received scores of media attention included Isaiah Washington reportedly using a homophobic slur, referring to co-star T.R. Knight as a “f—-t” during a scuffle with cast member Patrick Dempsey.

Knight was soon forced to publicly come out as gay, and Washington ended up being fired. Knight felt that show runner Shonda Rhimes tried to discourage him from making a public statement. “I think she was concerned about having my statement come out so close to the [initial] event,” he told Entertainment Weekly in 2009.

Rhimes strongly denied the accusation. “I said, ‘If you want to come out, that’s awesome,'” Rhimes recalled. “‘We’ll totally support that.'”

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Knight ended up leaving the show with his last episode airing at the beginning of Season 6.  “There just comes a time when it’s so clear that moving on is the best decision,” he said.

Golden Globes scuffle

Though Washington denied the accusation at the time, he apologized when the allegation against him was made public. Yet the topic didn’t seem to disappear, where the actor was asked about the fracas in the Golden Globes’ press room after the show received the award for Best Dramatic Television Series. According to The New York Times, Washington took the microphone and denied using the slur yet repeated the word. His actions clearly cast a shadow on the ensemble’s celebration.

Heigl was angered by Washington’s actions and did not hesitate expressing her frustration. “I’m going to be really honest right now, he needs to just not speak in public. Period,” she said of her co-star in an Access Hollywood interview following the incident. “I’m sorry, that did not need to be said, I’m not okay with it.”

The actress noted that the situation needed to be handled at a higher level. “I just feel like this is something that should be very much in-house we need to deal with,” Heigl emphasized. “It’s among us and the cast and crew and among Shonda and the producers.”

‘Grey’s Anatomy’s’ Katherine Heigl, Isaiah Washington, and T.R.. Knight | Richard Cartwright/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

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Making a strong stance for Knight, Heigl commented that Washington may not realize how his remarks were received.

“I don’t think [Washington] means it the way he comes off,” the Grey’s star said. “But, T.R. is my best friend. I will throw down for that kid. I will beat you up. I will use every ounce of energy I have to take you down if you hurt his feelings. … saying the word again is just unnecessary.”

Isaiah Washington makes a statement

The same night, Washington approached the co-hosts of Access Hollywood to explain himself and try to clear his name. “There is no way I could do anything so vile, and so horrible, not only to a cast mate, but to a fellow human being,” he stated of the initial alleged incident. “The reports were all wrong. It did not happen.”

After her departure from Grey’s in 2010, Heigl reflected on what happened and revealed she had no bad feelings toward Washington.

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“I think Isaiah just made a mistake. I think it was a [big] one. But I don’t think he’s evil or horrible or a bad person,” Heigl told Entertainment Weekly. “I had some great times on set with Isaiah. I don’t wish him ill.”