Katherine Heigl has finally opened up about the 2008 Grey's Anatomy Emmy controversy

Katherine Heigl attends the 27 Dresses premiere
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Katherine Heigl is one of the most talked-about women in the world, bursting onto our screens back in 2005 as Izzie Stevens in the popular medical drama, Grey's Anatomy.

With six seasons of the Shonda Rhimes show under her belt, not to mention leading roles in romantic comedies from 27 Dresses to Knocked Up, Heigl is truly a Hollywood heavyweight.

But despite her accomplishments, the 45-year-old actress has kept a low profile - having experienced the negative side of public attention back in her Grey's Anatomy days. In fact, one particular incident had a major impact on her reputation, and subsequently her entire career.

Katherine Heigl attends the 27 Dresses premiere

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The incident in question took place in 2008, seeing Heigl - the 2007 Best Supporting Actress Emmy winner, seemingly decline a nomination the consecutive year.

"I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination," read Heigl's statement at the time via Entertainment Weekly. "In addition, I did not want to potentially take away an opportunity from an actress who was given such materials."

The move proved controversial, seeing Heigl hit by a wave of online backlash, and subsequently shunned from the entertainment industry.

The Grey's Anatomy cast

(Image credit: Getty Images)

This is something that Heigl has opened up about this week, addressing the 2008 Grey's Anatomy Emmy controversy and what really happened during her recent appearance on Shannen Doherty's 'Let's Be Clear' podcast.

"I didn't turn it down," Heigl clarified of the 2008 Emmy nomination 16 years later, reflecting: "I should've said nothing. I should've just said, 'Oh I forgot.' Because it created such a maelstrom that was so unnecessary.

"I didn't think I had anything that warranted even the consideration for a nomination," she continued. "I just wasn't proud of my work. I would never be so bold or so arrogant to turn down a nomination. I would take that nomination. If it came my way, I'd be down."

Katherine Heigl at the premiere of 'Unforgettable'

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"I was trying to be honourable I guess," she reflected of her decision. "I was trying to have some integrity. I wasn't trying to be a dick."

Heigl went on to explain that after working harder than ever to counteract the harmful rumours, she eventually had to rise above it.

"It still didn't work," she recalled. "So I hit 40 and I went 'fuck this' - life is really too short'. I just want to be myself."

We will continue to update this story.

Shannen Doherty's 'Let's Be Clear' podcast is available on Spotify, Apple and more.

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.