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Katherine Heigl Got Brutally Honest About Being Blacklisted In Hollywood After She Was Called "Difficult" And "Unprofessional"

"What is your definition of difficult? Somebody with an opinion that you don't like?"

Posted on January 29, 2021, at 9:00 a.m. ET

Katherine Heigl just opened up about the impact of being branded "difficult" and "unprofessional" in Hollywood, something that essentially got her blacklisted in the entertainment industry.

Mike Coppola / WireImage

The Grey's Anatomy actor has faced numerous accusations of being hostile and high maintenance over the years, which has resulted in a less-than-glowing reputation.

ABC

In an interview with Vanity Fair following the release of 2007's Knocked Up, which she starred in alongside Seth Rogen, Heigl called the movie "a little sexist," adding: "It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys. It exaggerated the characters, and I had a hard time with it on some days."

She went on: "I'm playing such a bitch; why is she being such a killjoy? Why is this how you're portraying women? Ninety-eight percent of the time, it was an amazing experience, but it was hard for me to love the movie."

However, Heigl's response to the movie didn't sit well with many. When Rogen was asked about it in 2016, he said his trust felt "somewhat betrayed" after reading her comments.

And things didn't get much better when Heigl pulled herself out of the race for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama at the 2008 Emmys, a move that was considered a "swipe" at Grey's Anatomy producers for cutting back her role.

Jon Kopaloff / FilmMagic

"I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination, and in an effort to maintain the integrity of the academy organization, I withdrew my name from contention," she said in a statement at the time. "In addition, I did not want to potentially take away an opportunity from an actress who was given such materials."

Now, in a candid interview with the Washington Post, Heigl has explained how the backlash affected her, noting that getting older has put things in better perspective.

"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,'" she 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."

"At the time, I was just quickly told to shut the fuck up. The more I said I was sorry, the more they wanted it," Heigl continued. "The more terrified and scared I was of doing something wrong, the more I came across like I had really done something horribly wrong."

Steve Granitz / WireImage

Heigl went on to explain the impact of the constant backlash, revealing that her family members and friends were "scared" because of her rapidly spiraling mental health.

"I regret deeply that I scared them like that," she said, "but I just couldn't control it. I had no tools."

Years later, Heigl would seek the help of a therapist to deal with her anxiety. "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 said. "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."

"I've grown into accepting that ambition is not a dirty word, and that it doesn't make me less of a feminine, loving, nurturing woman to be ambitious and have big dreams and big goals," Heigl finished. "It's easier to be happy because I have a little more gentleness for myself."

Vera Anderson / WireImage

You can read the full Washington Post interview here.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.