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Katherine Heigl 'embarrassed' by 'Grey's Anatomy' Emmy drama, 'Knocked Up' remarks

Opening up to Howard Stern, former "Grey's Anatomy" star Katherine Heigl said Wednesday she regrets the way she handled herself when she withdrew her name from Emmy Award consideration in 2008.

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Actress Katherine Heigl attends the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California.

"I wasn't feeling good about my work that season," Heigl, 37, told Stern on his SiriusXM talk show. "I didn't feel good about my performance and I didn't feel — there was a part of me that thought, because I had won the year before, that I needed juicy, dramatic, emotional material, and I just didn't have that, that season."

In June 2008, she told the Los Angeles Times in a statement that she made her decision to withdraw because she "did not want to potentially take away an opportunity from an actress who was given such materials." Those comments spawned backlash, as some perceived them to be a knock on "Grey's" writers and/or series creator Shonda Rhimes.

"I was really embarrassed," Heigl told Stern. "So, I went in to Shonda and said, 'I'm so sorry. That wasn't cool, like, I should not have said that.' And I shouldn't have said anything publicly. But, at the time, I didn't think anybody would notice. I didn't know that journalists would see who would submit and who didn't. I just quietly didn't submit, and then it became a story, and I felt I was obligated to make my statement."

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Heigl also told Stern she's disappointed with how she'd described her role in the blockbuster comedy "Knocked Up" — directed by Judd Apatow and co-starring Seth Rogen — in a 2008 Vanity Fair cover story. Back then, she said the film was "a little sexist" and "paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight."

The Howard Stern Show
Howard Stern interviewed actress Katherine Heigl on his talk show April 20, 2016.

On Wednesday, she tried to clarify her remarks, which she described as ungracious. "I liked the movie a lot," she told Stern. "I just didn't like [the way I approached my character]. She was so judgmental and kind of uptight and controlling and all these things, and I really went with it while we were doing it. Judd allows everyone to be very free and improvise and whatever, and afterwards, I was like, 'Why is that where I went with this? What [a jerk] she is!'"

Heigl said she's considered apologizing to Apatow and Roger privately, but hasn't done so because she remains "embarrassed" by what happened and wants an apology to be recognized as sincere. She recalled that, about six or seven years ago, she cheerfully greeted Rogen at a restaurant but got a chilly reception, not realizing "it was that bad."

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Katherine Heigl attends the 2015 InStyle And Warner Bros. 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards Post-Party at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California.

Stern and his longtime sidekick, Robin Quivers, encouraged Heigl to apologize in private if that's something she genuinely wants to do.

"You want to know something?" Stern said. "I have picked up the phone and apologized to people, and it is the best feeling in the world when you do it."

Later in the interview, Heigl wondered if too much time had passed for an apology. Quivers echoed Stern's proposal. "As long as it's still on your mind," Quivers said, "you should ease your mind in that area."

Follow TODAY.com writer Chris Serico on Twitter.

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