Katherine Heigl Says Being Labeled ‘Difficult’ Took A Toll On Her Mental Health

The Four Percent


If you’ve heard enough over the years about Katherine Heigl’s allegedly “difficult” behavior, well, just imagine how the actor herself feels about it. 

In a wide-ranging interview with The Washington Post, Heigl got candid about the fallout she experienced more than a decade ago after she publicly criticized two of her best-known projects, the TV series “Grey’s Anatomy” and the film “Knocked Up.”

“I may have said a couple of things you didn’t like, but then that escalated to, ‘She’s ungrateful,’ then that escalated to, ‘She’s difficult,’ and that escalated to, ‘She’s unprofessional,’” Heigl said. “What is your definition of difficult? Somebody with an opinion that you don’t like? Now, I’m 42, and that shit pisses me off.”

The mother of three continued, “At the time, I was just quickly told to shut the fuck up. … The more terrified and scared I was of doing something wrong, the more I came across like I had really done something horribly wrong.”

For those unfamiliar with the matter, Heigl’s public approval rating took a hit in 2008 when she criticized her performance in Judd Apatow’s “Knocked Up,” and described the movie as “a little sexist.” That same year, she withdrew herself from Emmy consideration, explaining in a widely circulated statement that she didn’t believe her role in the fourth season of “Grey’s Anatomy” warranted praise. 

Those statements caused an uproar among fans, as well as the creators and cast members of both projects, some of whom didn’t hesitate to express their thoughts on Heigl on the record. 

As the actor moved on to roles in TV shows like “State of Affairs” and “Suits,” she never seemed to fully recover from the backlash. Eventually, the plethora of negative headlines took a major toll on her mental health. 

“I asked my mom and my husband to find me somewhere to go that could help me because I felt like I would rather be dead,” she told the Post. “I didn’t realize how much anxiety I was living with until I got so bad that I had to really seek help. You can do a lot of inner soul work, but I’m a big fan of Zoloft.”

Fortunately, Heigl’s latest project may finally give her the opportunity to move on. She’ll next be seen in the Netflix series “Firefly Lane,” which charts the highs and lows of a friendship between two women (Heigl and Sarah Chalke) across more than 30 years. 

Based on Kristin Hannah’s novel of the same name and due out Feb. 3, “Firefly Lane” is garnering ample pre-release buzz.

“I spent a lot of years just being the actor hired,” said Heigl, who is also an executive producer on the series. “I feel now I have enough experience and enough wisdom to have a voice, to collaborate about character, about story, about cast. It’s about having a seat at the table.”


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