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

soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Sharon

    I still miss George and HATED the way they killed him off. The giggles at his funeral still make me mad. (And, yeah, I know they are fictional.)

    October 22, 2013 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  2. Chris

    Still my favorite show and she is one of my favorite characters... I will miss Sandra Oh too!

    October 21, 2013 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • rs1201

      I find Ellen Pompeo's character to be extremely annoying. Doctors don't behave that way nor would they ever even think of behaving that way...especially surgeons. The whole show is just that...a show...nothing even approaching reality.

      October 23, 2013 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
  3. symone says

    i wonder just how long it's going to take "the rest of hollywood" to realize heigl is radioactive for a reason. the history of television is littered with actresses and actors who got famous because of a show and suddenly they were too big for it: farrah fawcett, that crosby chick from ST:TNG, and that weird red-headed dude who left NYPD blue (IIRC) because after his literal nude-a$$ screen, suddenly he was too cool for school.

    heigl had, like so many of these others, a quirk that made HER CHARACTER appealing on HER SHOW lol. take her off the show, and she's just another cute almost -starlet who believed her own PR.

    i shouldn't get joy out of seeing somebody like this fall, but all i can hope is that her tv show is a tremendous flop. it's not just because she pooped on the people who "made her who she is today", it is because she truly believes her hype and her pit bull of a mother is ready to go to the wall to see she gets paid for it.

    i honestly just hope she doesn't work in hollywood ever again, and for two reasons. number one, so i'll never, ever have to hear from her again and write a mean post like this out of frustration, and number two, she has a young daughter who probably needs a real mother at home. although i personally feel she adopted her baby, as an accessory special-needs chinese child (the child had a health scare, it was cured, but heigl had to bravely diva it up as if she had adopted a young chinese stephen hawking), i do believe the child needs a mother. hopefully she can do that right,

    i hate to say it, but i'm really hoping her show crashes & burns.

    aah, dave caruso. that's that weird redhead's name – take note, heigl, people will forget your name if you'll just give us a minute!). and yeah, now caruso has a new show. and it took him something like 15 or so years to work again after he got too big for his TV show. and what's the result? he's not acting, he merely has a schtick: he stands there with his head down, slightly turned, and speaks quietly. that's it. i really hope he's not making a ton of money for that crap.

    October 17, 2013 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kat

    I'm reminded of Shelley Long leaving Cheers to re-start her movie career. Also, Katherine H reminds me of Jeanne Tripplehorn (sp?) as a blonde.

    October 15, 2013 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • symone says

      there's another one i couldn't remember! shelly whats-'er-name!! and why? because she left cheers without realizing that the character of diane was her ONE shot: it was what she was good at. it wasn't that she was a GREAT actress, it was because she WAS diane. and afterwards, her movie career failed to take off, and it wasn't just that she was typecast as that character. it turned out she's got one note and that's the one she plays. anybody see the money pit? heck, she even managed to make tom hanks look bad in that movie. TOM HANKS of all people!!

      yes, diane, 'buh-bye

      October 17, 2013 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. B

    Wouldn't been nice not to know that Sandra Oh is leaving until we watch the show. Could've started with spoiler alert or something.. thx for nothing.

    October 9, 2013 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Beth

      The information about Sandra Oh leaving the show is not a spoiler. It's been the news for ages now, you just missed it. How they deal with the exit is what is not known. She asked to move on according to all news reports.

      October 9, 2013 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • nana2gavin

      It's all over the news. It's not a spoiler.

      October 15, 2013 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
    • H

      Yeahhhhh.. I didn't hear about Oh either. Really bummed that i found that out here...

      October 24, 2013 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • She's in May forever.....

      -may hearing has been going on a very long time and so is vidal Sassoon....she exposes the modeling agency and she's disloyal on purpose...that is how we view it. you give an insult expect e times more poundings...

      October 24, 2013 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  6. KT

    Not only did Heigl burn a lot of bridges when she left Grey's, but she also became a little self impressed after the success of one film. She's a beautiful woman, but her looks are similar to Charlize Theron and Scarlett Johansen. They, however, have the advantage because they both have critically acclaimed and profitable movies on their resumes.

    October 8, 2013 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • symone says

      or put another way, *they* can act. heigl is just another pretty face, and if anybody's counting, she's *gasp* 29!!!!! so that makes her just another *ageing* pretty face 🙂

      October 17, 2013 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Denise

    I love the show! Yes ,sometimes it can get a little boring but I still watch it.I think that Sandra Oh is making a mistake by leaving the show but oh well.Some one else will come along and try to fill her shoes.

    October 8, 2013 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
  8. Peace ☮

    I've always liked this show. Then after so many have left, the storyline got boring. I still dvr it, tho. It has gotten a little better, so I won't give up on it, yet.

    October 8, 2013 at 7:14 am | Report abuse |
  9. Sue

    The show is quite the bore but ellen is still hot for her age and popular

    October 7, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Marc B

    "What about those who left and did make it in movies – "

    None of them broke a contract to start their movie career or badmouthed so many people they worked for. George Clooney waited until his ER contract was over before leaving to fully embark on his film career. Katherine Heigl bad-mouthed Judd Apatow and Shondra Rimes (who BTW are a couple of the most influential people in film and TV), and the negative wake she left after early success finally caught up with her. She is a gorgeous woman with an incredible body, but she wasn't not savvy enough to keep her mouth shut while she was riding the wave.

    October 7, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Raoul

    Good for her, smart lady.

    October 7, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. gs

    SMART GIRL. Heigl got too big for her britches. She is not nearly as hot as she thinks she is.

    October 7, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ingrid Bell

    I love Ellen's character on Grey's Anatomy. I wish they would rehire Isaiah Washington!

    October 7, 2013 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sinclair

    Smart girl Pompeo. Heigl apparently has a short memory, the same thing happened to Farrah Fawcett, Suzanne Somers, David Caruso, among others who thought they didn't need the little screen anymore even though it is what brought them to the public's attention in the first place. Caruso was lucky that he got a second chance with "CSI Miami".

    October 7, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Duckie

      What about those who left and did make it in movies – George Clooney, Steve Carell, Johnny Depp, Adam Sandler, and Ron Howard?

      I don't blame her for giving it a shot.

      October 7, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Natalie

      Duckie...All those folks you mentioned payed thier dues and were on TV for a while before box office success.

      October 7, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  15. dd

    Good show

    October 7, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |

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