Ellen Pompeo, who plays the beloved surgeon on Grey’s Anatomy, has spoken out in support of a former co-worker Katherine Heigl, who played Izzie Stevens. Heigl, who was on the show for five years, found herself in the middle of controversy after bowing out from being nominated for an Emmy in 2008. Although Heigl was not trying to dig anyone, especially not the show’s creator Shonda Rhimes, she notes that it came off as ungrateful to the public. With this and facing backlash for comments she made about Judd Apatow’s “Knocked Up” that she starred in, she was labeled “hard to work with.” Later, when she left Grey’s Anatomy, there were rumors circulating that it was due to the comments she had made. Additionally, in an interview in 2009 with David Letterman, she said she had to work a 17-hour day on her first day back on the set of Grey’s anatomy, calling it “cruel and mean.”
Ellen Pompeo: Katherine Heigl Was ‘100% Right’ to Condemn ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Working Hours https://t.co/NXZmerVaVN
— Variety (@Variety) April 21, 2022
For these reasons, she was labeled hard to work with, and she also has admitted recently that she had to go to therapy as she was afraid to speak out about anything, fearing it would be taken out of context and further stain her career. Now, Pompeo says that Heigl was “100 percent right.” In a recent podcast episode on Pompeo’s podcast “Tell Me” she talks with Kate Walsh, a returning actress who plays Addison Shepherd. She says that “I remember Heigl said something on a talk show about the insane hours we were working. And she was 100% right.” She says that Heigl was ahead of her time, and if she had complained about grueling hours today she would be praised, but 10 years ago she looked ungrateful. “Let’s slam a woman and call her ungrateful.”
— camille (@amymarched) April 20, 2022
Now, many online are realizing how unfair her treatment was, and that her career probably would have been even more successful if she was not shamed for speaking out about long and hard hours. And though many appreciate that Pompeo is standing up for her now, many are critical that she is choosing to speak out now, when it would have been more important for her to speak out back then.
… ellen girl, you let one of the best actors on that show get thrown under the bus for demanding better treatment for herself and her character and said nothing for over 10 years…. katherine heigl/izzie stevens get behind me!!! https://t.co/vjR05sFLye
— Greta (@angeIsadvocatee) April 21, 2022
Does Ellen also say she was a coward and should have supported Katherine? Ellen had power to change the narrative and did nothing.
— Alin (@SFAlin7) April 21, 2022
Many think it is odd that Pompeo did not speak out and say anything at the time, but many pointed out that she was most likely also worried about being called difficult to work with, especially since your demeanor on shows can make and break your career. Still, some cannot help but think about the impact Pompeo could have on Heigl’s career.