After a six-year “Grey’s Anatomy” stint marked by almost as many controversies as triumphs, Katherine Heigl is thisclose to getting what she has long desired: a discharge.
Sources confirm to me exclusively that series creator Shonda Rhimes has agreed to release the fast-rising movie star from her contract. It’s now up to ABC Studios and Heigl’s reps to hash out a final exit agreement. (A rep for ABC Studios declined to comment. Coincidentally, as of today Heigl is without a publicist.) Why is this all coming down now? That’s where things get interesting…
After taking more than half of the current season off to make another movie and connect with her adopted daughter, Heigl was scheduled to return to the “Grey’s” set on March 1 to begin work on the five remaining episodes of the season. There’s just one problem: March 1 came and went and there was no Heigl.
A source within the actress’ camp claims Heigl “was at home and ready to return to work.” Another insider, however, “insists it’s much more complicated than that.” The source adds that talks between Heigl and ABC have been going on for months and last week both sides mutually decided that the best solution would be to part ways now as opposed to at the end of the season. As a result, Heigl is not expected to return to the “Grey’s” set, which means her final episode as Izzie has already aired.
The break-up caps a long history of tumult between Heigl and “Grey’s.” Here’s a quick recap of some of the more high-profile squabbles:
* In 2007, Heigl found herself in the middle of the TR Knight/Isaiah Washington feud when she publicly dissed Washington for repeating the F word at the Golden Globes.
* In 2008, Heigl took a swipe at “Grey’s” writers when she announced that she wasn’t entering the Emmy race because “did not feel I was given the material… to warrant a nomination.”
* Over the summer, she groused to David Letterman that “Grey’s” was subjecting her to intolerable working conditions. “Our first day back was Wednesday,” she said, “and it was — I’m going to keep saying this because I hope it embarrasses them — a 17-hour day, which I think is cruel and mean.”
Bottom line: There’s no love lost on either side as this whole sordid chapter comes to an end.