The Firefly Lane star, 44, and Pompeo, 53, are set to chat about their lives and careers during the upcoming season of Variety’s “Actors on Actors,” which kicks off on Tuesday, June 6. The outlet announced on Saturday, May 27, that the former Grey’s Anatomy stars would be paired for the interview series.
Heigl and the Massachusetts native’s June sit-down will mark their first public reunion in years.
Pompeo and the 27 Dresses star were cast as Dr. Meredith Grey and Dr. Izzie Stevens, respectively, for the Grey’s Anatomy pilot in 2005. After several years costarring on the long-running medical hit, Heigl eventually announced her TV departure in 2010. At the time of her exit, the Knocked Up star explained she wanted to leave the show to prioritize her family. (Heigl shares daughters Naleigh, 13, and Adelaide, 11, and son Joshua, 6, with husband Josh Kelley.)
“I started a family, and it changed everything,” Heigl said in an interview published in Lynette Rice’s book How to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey’s Anatomy. “I went on family leave and just got to be a [mom], and it changed my whole perspective … that was really the turning point.”
Amid Heigl’s maternity leave and desire to take a step back from Grey’s, tension behind-the-scenes started brewing. The Ugly Truth star had previously withdrawn from Emmys consideration because she didn’t think the “material” she was given in season 4 was worthy of a nomination, soon sparking feud speculation with show creator and writer Shonda Rhimes. The Shondaland founder, 53, confessed at the time that she was “surprised” but not “insulted” by Heigl’s remarks.
“At the time, I was just quickly told to shut the f–k up. The more I said I was sorry, the more they wanted it,” Heigl told the Washington Post in January 2021. “The more terrified and scared I was of doing something wrong, the more I came across like I had really done something horribly wrong.”
She added at the time: “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.’ What is your definition of difficult? Somebody with an opinion that you don’t like? Now, I’m 42, and that s–t pisses me off.”
Pompeo, for her part, had briefly touched on watching the set drama during a 2013 interview with the New York Post.
“Hurt feelings, combined with instant success and huge paychecks started things spinning out of control,” the Station 19 producer — who left the show as a full-time cast member during 2023’s season 19 — said at the time. “The crazier things got, as I watched all the tumult with Isaiah [Washington] and then the Katie thing, I started to focus on the work.”
She added: “You could understand why she wanted to go — when you’re offered $12 million a movie and you’re only 26. But Katie’s problem is that she should not have renewed her contract. She re-upped, took a big raise and then tried to get off the show. And then her movie career did not take off.”
Grey’s Anatomy aired its season 19 finale earlier this month and has already been renewed for a landmark season 20. It is not known how involved Pompeo — who made a cameo in last week’s episode — will be in the upcoming episodes.