Katherine Heigl Finally Sets Record Straight On Emmys Drama That Torched Her Grey's Legacy

It took over 15 years, but Katherine Heigl finally addressed her 2008 Emmys drama in an interview with the "Let's Be Clear" podcast in July 2024. Heigl's Emmys controversy overshadowed her "Grey's Anatomy" days and led to accusations of arrogance and ingratitude. However, she was keen to set the record straight, shooting down reports she had rejected a nomination from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and insisting instead that she never submitted her work for consideration because she didn't feel worthy of winning.

"I just wasn't proud of my work. I would never be so bold or so arrogant to turn down a nomination. I would take that nomination. If it came my way, I'd be down," Heigl told Shannon Doherty. "I was trying to be honorable, I guess. I was trying to have some integrity. I wasn't trying to be a d***."

The rebuff resulted in Heigl facing some serious hate in Hollywood, with "Grey's Anatomy" creator Shonda Rhimes at the top of the enemy list. Rhimes took the dig at her show — which launched the actor's career — personally. "There are no Heigls in this situation," she told The Hollywood Reporter in October 2014 while talking about her interactions with the cast of "Suits." Rhimes insisted she wouldn't allow something similar to occur again. "I don't put up with b******* or nasty people. I don't have time for it." Meanwhile, Heigl did tell Doherty that she gave Rhimes props for creating her character.

The Heigl and Rhimes beef continues

Katherine Heigl insisted to Shannon Doherty on her "Let's Be Clear" podcast that she would never disrespect the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences by rejecting an Emmys award. Still, she did nothing to walk back comments that would appear to bite the hand that fed her — namely, Shonda Rhimes and the show that catapulted Heigl's career and turned her into a superstar.

Heigl won an Emmy for her role in "Grey's Anatomy" in 2007, but fast forward one year, and she was nowhere to be seen on the red carpet or nominations list. "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 announced in a statement (via The New York Times).

Not surprisingly, Rhimes took the criticism to heart, and didn't hold back regarding her feelings about Heigl, accusing her of being a diva and a nightmare to work with. "I may have said a couple of things you didn't like, but then that escalated to 'she's ungrateful,' then that escalated to 'she's difficult,' and that escalated to 'she's unprofessional,'" Heigl said of Rhimes' denunciation in an interview with The Washington Post in January 2021. "What is your definition of difficult? Somebody with an opinion that you don't like? Now, I'm 42, and that s*** p***** me off."

Heigl's Emmys controversy had serious ramifications

Katherine Heigl's 2008 Emmys drama has followed her around throughout her career ever since. She had claimed she didn't feel worthy of an award nomination because the script she'd been given to work with had been sub-par. However, The New York Times had a different take, claiming that industry insiders believed Heigl's perceived snub indicated she was done with "Grey's Anatomy" and was looking for a way to get out of her contract. The timing was definitely suspicious, as Heigl left "Grey's Anatomy" after Season 6 finished filming.

Despite the loaded comments, the actor insisted she would never intentionally diss anybody. "I'm not a rude person, I'm not a mean or unkind person, I would never go out of my way or consciously try to hurt anyone's feelings or make them feel bad or uncomfortable or not be professional," Heigl insisted on the "The Meredith Viera Show" in November 2014.

Meanwhile, Heigl said that the backlash she received led to her suffering debilitating anxiety attacks during the late aughts. She said they became so bad that her family worried for her welfare. "I think my family, my mother, my husband, my friends were scared. And I regret deeply that I scared them like that. But I just couldn't control it. I had no tools," Heigl told The Washington Post.