Ellen Pompeo dishes on Katherine Heigl's 'Grey's' exit
October 7th, 2013
03:30 PM ET

Ellen Pompeo dishes on Katherine Heigl's 'Grey's' exit

Don't think Katherine Heigl's old "Grey's Anatomy" co-stars haven't noticed her career turbulence.

Ellen Pompeo, who worked with Heigl on "Grey's" from 2005 to 2010, told the New York Post that the falling out from Heigl's departure encouraged her to keep her nose to the grindstone.

“When Katie left, it was tough,” Pompeo said of Heigl's 2010 farewell that led to her committing to movies full-time. The star's decision to leave came on the heels of very public controversies, including Heigl's decision not to enter the 2008 Emmys race because she felt the writing for her "Grey's" character wasn't up to par.

“You could understand why she wanted to go — when you’re offered $12 million a movie and you’re only 26," Pompeo told the Post. "But Katie’s problem is that she should not have renewed her contract. She re-upped, took a big raise and then tried to get off the show. And then her movie career did not take off.”

These days, after her last two projects - April's "The Big Wedding" and 2012's "One For the Money" - failed to live up to her early box office successes, like 2007's "Knocked Up" and 2009's "The Ugly Truth," Heigl is trying to return to TV. NBC is developing a drama pilot that would star the 34-year-old as an influential CIA analyst.

But back in 2010, after Heigl confirmed she had washed her hands of Shonda Rhimes' medical soap, there were "hurt feelings," Pompeo recalled.

Those ego bruises combined with "instant success and huge paychecks started things spinning out of control,” she continued. “The crazier things got, as I watched all the tumult with Isaiah (Washington) and then the Katie thing, I started to focus on the work. Maybe it is my Boston, blue-collar upbringing. I just tried to not pay attention to all the noise around me.”

"Grey's Anatomy," which is in its 10th season and has now filmed its 200th episode, has said goodbye to many of its stars, including Heigl, Washington, T.R. Knight and, at the end of this season, Sandra Oh. But Pompeo seems happy right where she is.

“Actors always think the grass is greener somewhere else. I didn’t want to do that,” she said. “I have an amazing life. I have a house five minutes from the studio, I have a house in the Hamptons, a house in Malibu, a beautiful daughter whom I see every night, and it’s all because I didn’t leave ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ ”

Filed under: Celebrities • Grey's Anatomy • television

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