Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff has opened up about Katherine Heigl’s departure from the show. She went on to explain why Heigl never received a proper send-off episode as other characters did. However, a source close to the actress disputes the story. They say Katherine was in Los Angeles, waiting to be called to the set.
Grey’s Anatomy and Katherine Heigl
Katherine Heigl played the role of Dr. Izzie Stevens for six seasons from 2005 to 2010. As with many other actors that have left Grey’s Anatomy, the medical drama had planned to give her a farewell episode. However, she apparently never showed up to film that episode.
Vernoff told the Los Angeles Times about it in an interview. She said they had planned to have her return for an episode to properly tie up the Izzie and Alex story. Vernoff said she had written the episode and that it was beautiful. Regrettably, she received a call that Katherine wasn’t coming, the day before it was set to start shooting. She wasn’t coming and she wasn’t going to do the exit episode.
Krista said she didn’t know what was happening in Heigl’s life that led her to that decision. Meanwhile, the episode was centered on just one character, who wasn’t going to be there.
Katherine Heigl disputes the story
As noted by Glamour, however, sources close to Heigl told Entertainment Weekly that Vernoff’s story wasn’t accurate. In fact, they said Krista was mistaken and that Katherine was in Los Angeles at the time. This was following parental leave after she adopted her daughter. Heigl was, in fact, waiting to be called to the set.
Fans will remember that Izzie’s storyline did eventually resolve in Season 16, almost ten years after Katherine left Grey’s Anatomy. While she didn’t actually appear, she helped to tie up Alex Karev’s storyline following Justin Chamber’s own exit from the series in March 2020. After Justin’s final episode, writers wrote that the former lovers had reunited and had children together.
No chance of a return to Grey’s Anatomy
After hearing Vernoff’s story of the exit episode and Heigl’s apparent reaction, it is pretty safe to say she won’t be returning to Grey’s Anatomy. However, fans are no doubt happy to see Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd and will get to see him at least three more times.
— Greys Anatomy (@GreysABC) November 13, 2020
This happened in the closing moments of the episode, as Meredith passes out in the hospital parking lot. The medical staff is struggling with the endless COVID-19 patients arriving at the hospital. They are all stressed out and exhausted.
In a dream state, Grey is on a beach and sees her late husband – who died during Season 11 in 2015 – walking towards her. This was both a shocking, but also an emotional scene that will no doubt resolve in the next episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
Keep up with the story by watching Grey’s Anatomy on ABC, Thursdays at 9/8c.