Katherine Heigl Gets Candid About Her Decision To Leave ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ & Why She Doesn’t Watch The Show

The actress shared raw details about why she no longer works on the iconic drama, and her unwillingness to watch the series now that she's left it.

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Katherine Heigl‘s emotional health comes even before her wildly successful career. In a new interview with Sirius XM’s Bevy Smith, she detailed how the pressure and anxiety wrought by starring on the iconic ABC series Grey’s Anatomy ultimately led to her walking away in 2010 — and whether or not she still peeks in on the show. “I think with Grey’s at that time, I didn’t feel I had any other choice,” she said in part. “I was breaking, it was breaking me, and I was young.” The mother of three and wife of singer Josh Kelley further admitted it was driving her to a point of potential illness.

Katherine Heigl
Katherine Heigl (Lumeimages / SplashNews.com)

“I didn’t know how to get through it,” the Knocked Up beauty, 44, continued. “I wasn’t, I hadn’t garnered enough experience and wisdom yet to get myself through it with less heightened anxiety. I mean, I was vibrating at a level that was gonna, I was gonna get sick and, you know, I did get mentally sick. And I look back at it and sometimes I go, God, I wish I had just calmed down a moment. Taken a breath, thought it through, had some conversations about this possibility. What about this possibility? How about if I do, you know, just this many episodes a season? Like, if I could have found a way to work within it, that could have also worked for me. But I only saw it as this one thing. I was up here at a level of intensity that was not healthy for me. And I just kind of fled in a panic.”

Katherine, who played Izzy Stevens, was also known for being outspoken about the show, even sometimes criticizing it — something she called a “filter problem.” She addressed how that may have contributed to leaving the show, as well.  “I have a bit of a filter issue,” she said. “It doesn’t feel like it to me until it goes into print and I go, ‘wow, maybe I really shouldn’t have said that out loud.’ I tend to be very trusting in conversations and, I don’t like the feeling of being like, I’m being insincere or something, or I’m false or I’m putting on a mask for you. It’s very difficult for me to do that in my personal life. I can do it for my job because that’s my job and that’s fun. But to pretend to be something I’m not when I’m supposed to be just being me, that’s difficult for me.”

Katherine Heigl
Katherine Heigl appears on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ (Everett Collection)

When asked if she’s still watching the show, the actress said she had decided to “move on.” “Um, no, I stopped watching probably around the time I left because it felt like, I remember kind of trying to tune in and wanting to see my buddies and see what was happening next and feeling like I was, you know, missing the party,” she said. “Like massive FOMO. So I went, okay, I’m gonna have to let it go now. I have to move on with my life. I made that choice. So be a big girl, let it go.”

“In any case, Katherine seems to have found a good place in life, between her family — she’s been married to Josh since December of 2007 — and her continuing career. And she’s been gentle with herself, especially regarding the departure from Grey’s. “I mean, I sometimes look back at that girl and I just wanna give her a hug because she was such a wreck,” she said.

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