Some years ago, right after she left “Grey’s Anatomy” to pursue a career in film and had had a couple of box office hits, Katherine Heigl was the hottest commodity around. Then, she started being too much a diva with the people she worked with, badmouthing her former collaborators and basically drawing onto herself the ire of the entire industry and the media.
She was blackballed and consigned to Hollywood hell, that place where all former A-listers and all one-hit wonders go to mourn their past glory, while industry execs openly spoke about her and the very solid reasons they were refusing to work with her anymore. Meanwhile, the media (trade publications too, not just the tabloids) labeled her a goner, saying her career was in the gutter and there was no more bringing it back from there.
That wasn’t what happened, Katherine herself says in a new interview with Marie Claire UK, meant to promote a new TV project.
Heigl’s fall from grace, her journey from the “it girl” on TV and the big screen (mostly rom-coms) to persona non grata, is perhaps one of the most spectacular the industry has had in recent years, Lindsay Lohan not included.
As such, it was heavily documented. Denying that her career stalled because of her bad attitude and even worse career choices is for Heigl like the aforementioned Lohan saying she doesn’t like to party. But Katherine is doing it either way.
“The thing that was my best friend for a long time suddenly turned on me,” she says of that moment when her career took a nosedive. The friend is her career in Hollywood and the industry of showbiz in general. “And I didn’t expect it. I was taken by surprise and angry at it for betraying me.”
She also has an explanation for why she did so many romantic comedies, even long past that moment when it became clear that audiences were no longer interested in seeing her in this kind of role, and for stopping, albeit too late. It wasn’t because studios weren’t willing to pay her to lose money anymore, by the way.
“I had an amazing time. I love romantic comedies. But maybe I hit it a little too hard. I couldn’t say no. I stopped challenging myself. It became a bit by rote and, as a creative person, that can wear you down. That was part of why I took that time off, to ask myself, ‘What do I want? What am I looking for?’ and shut down all the noise,” she says.
Katherine is now back and she’s itching to get back into the game, work on a new TV project, sit down with writers to discuss ideas, stay busy, stay in the limelight.
Her new show, “State of Affairs,” will air on NBC and it’s already generating plenty of buzz online, mostly because it’s Heigl’s comeback to television.
The one thing that hasn’t changed is the fact that she still hasn’t learned anything from her downfall, she still blames everyone else but herself for it. The most important lesson would have been never again to bite the hand that feeds you, whether we’re talking about industry people (from writers to showrunners and co-stars) or the fans.