TV & Movies

Katherine Heigl Addressed Her Grey’s Anatomy Emmys Controversy

“I wasn’t trying to be a d*ck.”

'Grey's Anatomy' alum Katherine Heigl.
Taylor Hill/FilmMagic / Frank Ockenfels/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

For years, Katherine Heigl’s Grey’s Anatomy exit has inspired rumors and speculation. Fans have dissected her supposed feud with Shonda Rhimes, her criticisms of the working conditions, and, of course, the Emmy that got away.

During a recent appearance on Shannon Doherty’s podcast Let’s Be Clear, Heigl set the record straight on rumors that she once declined an Emmy nomination for her portrayal of Dr. Izzie Stevens on the hit medical drama. When Doherty said she didn’t “know any person except for you that turns down an Emmy nomination,” Heigl responded, “Well, I didn’t, and everybody keeps saying that. I didn’t turn it down.”

She continued, “You know, you have to submit yourself. You have to submit your work, and then they deliberate, and then they decide if they want to give you a nomination. I just didn’t submit my work that year.”

In 2007, Heigl won the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress for her performance in Grey’s Anatomy. However, per Deadline, the actor caused controversy the following year after she reportedly turned down a nomination.

In a statement released by Heigl in 2008, she explained, “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.”

Sandra Oh, Ellen Pompeo, and Katherine Heigl in Grey’s Anatomy. Randy Holmes/Disney General Entertainment Content/Getty Images

Speaking to Doherty on Let’s Be Clear, Heigl said she now regrets making a statement and “should have said nothing.” “I should have said, ‘Oh, I forgot [to submit my work],’ because it created such a maelstrom that was so unnecessary,” she continued.

Still, she acknowledged she was trying to make a point with her statement. “I was kind of trying to make a bit of a snarky point about my material that year, but I was also just not feeling my material,” she said.

The actor also clarified that if she had been given an Emmy nod in 2008, she “would never be so bold or so arrogant” as to turn it down.

“I would take that nomination if it came my way,” Heigl added. “I’d be down. But I just knew there wasn’t anything that would really warrant one that year, and I was trying to be honorable, I guess. I was trying to have some integrity. I wasn’t trying to be a d*ck.”

Heigl’s Grey’s Reunion

Heigl eventually left Grey’s Anatomy after Season 6 in 2010, following some reported disagreements with the show’s creator and executive producer, Shonda Rhimes.

In January 2024, Heigl reunited with her former Grey’s co-stars Ellen Pompeo, Justin Chambers, Chandra Wilson, and James Pickens Jr. at the Emmy Awards to celebrate the show’s legacy as the longest-running medical drama in television history.