Katherine Heigl caused a stir when she left Grey's Anatomy during season six. There was a variety of reasons for her exit, including her decision to opt out of consideration for award nominations, and a fall-out with the show's creator, Shonda Rhimes.
However, after reuniting with her former co-star Ellen Pompeo's for Variety's Actors on Actors chat, the star opened up about the difficult time in her life – and how she had no idea that voicing her thoughts would receive a "bad reaction".
She explained: "I was so naive. I got on my soapbox and I had some things to say, and I felt really passionate about this stuff. I felt really strongly. I felt so strongly that I also got a megaphone out on my soapbox. There was no part of me that imagined a bad reaction.
"I felt really justified in how I felt about it and where I was coming from… It's really disconcerting when you feel like you have really displeased everybody. It was not my intention to do so, but I had some things to say, and I didn't think I was going to get such a strong reaction."
She continued: "It took me until probably my mid- to late-30s to really get back to tuning out all of the noise and going, 'But who are you? Are you this bad person? Are you ungrateful? Are you unprofessional? Are you difficult?' Because I was confused! I thought maybe I was. I literally believed that version, and felt such shame for such a long time."
Ellen reassured Katherine, telling her: "Listen, nobody likes a super confident woman. And that's why they're taking away reproductive rights, and voting rights all over this country, is because they don't want women to find their power. They don't want women to have a voice. They don't want women to have control because they know that we can do it better than they can."
Fans were quick to share their thoughts, with one writing: "Katherine Heigl really was a victim of her time. Being labeled to this day as everything bad under the sun because she dared to use her voice and disagree with what they were going with her character… Izzie Stevens and Katherine Heigl you'll always be famous."
Another person added: "That interview keeps popping up on my TikTok fyp and god it is so clear that Katherine Heigl as a smart, funny and truly genuine person was unfairly bashed by the media/public when she left greys, and that other person sitting there was clearly the problem all along."