Whoa! Does Shonda Rhimes have some fighting words for former Grey’s Anatomy star Katherine Heigl! Rhimes has been relatively quiet about what she thought when Heigl decided to leave the show prematurely back in 2008. Since Heigl left, Grey’s Anatomy struggled for a bit to find its footing, but eventually got back on track in her absence. Now, Shonda Rhimes owns Thursday nights with a whole block of shows, and is back on top. More importantly, she’s not so reluctant to hold back on what she really thinks about Heigl.
In a new feature from The Hollywood Reporter, Shonda admits that she did learn a few lessons from having such a chaotic set on Grey’s Anatomy in the earlier seasons. Although Isaiah Washington could have arguably cast the first stone by using a gay slur at castmate T.R. Knight, Shonda used Katherine Heigl as an example.
Shonda apparently has a “no a–holes policy.” She went on to explain why she runs a tight ship on her very successful show Scandal. “There are no Heigls in this situation… I don’t put up with bulls**t or nasty people. I don’t have time for it.”
Not only did Heigl exit Grey’s earlier than originally written on her contract, but back in 2007 she dissed the writers by pulling her name out of being considered for an Emmy nomination because she didn’t think the material she was given reflected a nomination. It should be noted that her snub happened the year after she took home an Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for Grey’s Anatomy.
This and so much more lead up to Heigl’s contentious relationship with the media and eventually earned her the reputation that she was difficult to work with. After taking an extended hiatus from acting to focus on being a mother, Heigl returned willing to work on television again, and this time she landed on NBC.
To promote her new show State of Affairs, Heigl has had to go on an apology tour of sorts. Earlier she was asked at the Television Critics Association if she sees herself as difficult to work with.
“I can’t really speak to that. I can only say that I certainly don’t see myself as being difficult. I would never intend to be difficult. I don’t think my mother sees herself as being difficult. We always … I think it’s important to everybody to conduct themselves professionally and respectfully and kindly. If I’ve ever disappointed somebody, it was never intentional.”
As for Shonda? In 2012, Rhimes opened up a tiny bit about her feelings towards Heigl but it wasn’t nearly as blunt as her comments to THR. “On some level, it stung. But on some level I was not surprised. When people show you who they are, believe them. I carry that with me a lot.”