It has been twelve years since Katherine Heigl left the show Grey’s Anatomy. It is still a shock to many of us. Grey’s Anatomy is a medical drama that premiered on 27th march 2005. The series has all the elements of a medical drama with Interns, residents, and attendings trying to save a life in their hectic work day. This series was a huge hit. It went on to have 19 seasons, the most recent season premiered on 6th October 2022.
Izzie Stevens was a part of the original cast from season one. Izzie is played by Katherine Heigl. She started as an intern along with her other colleagues like Meredith Grey and Cristina Yang. Toward the end of season 6, she was a working resident at the Seattle Grace Hospital. Izzie was Katherin Heigl’s one of most critically acclaimed characters, and she received many awards, including the Primetime Emmy award for Outstanding supporting actress in a Drama Series.
Izzie was not only a critically acclaimed character, but she was also a fan favorite. This model turned surgeon was an inevitable part of the show. Though Fan’s speculated the exit of Katherine Heigl from the show because of some behind the scene drama, it was still a shock. We are here to break down the reason for her sudden exit from the show.
Izzie’s Story Arc in Grey’s Anatomy
Izzie, with her tall stature and blond hair, was a former model who started to intern at the Grace Seattle hospital at the age of 25. In the first episode, she and George move in with Meredith, and they soon form a friendship. Her main story arc includes her relationships with Meredith and other interns at the hospital.
Izzy was in a relationship with Alex, but he experienced a sexual dysfunction with Lizzie causing him to cheat on her. She breaks up with him when she finds out that he cheated. Alex and Izzie are the OTP, and though they had many breaks ups, they eventually ended up together.
One of the heartbreaking relationships Izzie had during the course of her screen time was with Denny Duquette. He was a Cardiothoracic patient. They both fell in love when he was admitted to the hospital. When his health condition worsened, she had to cut his LVAD, and she had to do it in order to end his suffering. He later dies. They were engaged, and he left her $8..7 million in his will. She uses this money to start a clinic in the hospital under his name.
Before getting back with Alex, she had an illicit affair with George. George and Izzies’s relationship arc was not well received. She rekindles with her ex-boyfriend Alex during her second year. At this same time frame, she begins to hallucinate about Denny, her dead ex-boyfriend. It led to her discovery of her cancer. She finds out she has stage 4 metastatic melanoma. The doctors said that her survival chances were very low. Dr. Derek Shepherd comes to the rescue and treats her successfully, but before her radiation, her ovum and Alex’s sperms were collected for future IVF possibilities.
Why Did Izzie Stevens Get Fire?
Though she got back to her work, her body was still healing. She ended up overdosing on a patient. This error was the reason why she got fired. She believed Alex was behind her firing even though he was innocent. Later, when she realizes Alex has nothing to do with her getting fired, she comes back and apologizes, hoping to get back with him. He moved on from the relationship and did not want to start it again. Alex tells her that he deserves better, and they break up. He advised her to leave the city, and she took this advice and left.
Though Izzie left the show, her name still appeared on the show. It is impossible to totally write her off as she is one of the main characters. At the time of her leaving, she was still married to Alex. A few episodes after her official exit, she sends the divorce letter to Alex. In a later episode, when Alex gets shot, he asks for her, implying that he still has feelings for her.
Her name then appears on season 12 of Grey’s Anatomy. In this season, Camilla, Alex’s partner, finds out that Izzie may have used the fertilized embryo that she saved during her radiation therapy to have kids with Alex. Alex is constantly plagued by the memory of her; he never really seems to move on from his past relationship.
Alex left the show in season 16, and he goes and finds Izzie, who now is a surgical oncologist. She is living in Kansas. It turns out she did use an embryo to have babies. She had twins Alexis and Elis. This is how their story arc is completed; this long-term lover reunites with two kids, and that is their ending.
Why Did Katherine Heigl Leave Grey’s Anatomy?
Rumors of Katherine Heigl being difficult to work with were widespread. Heigl famously pulled her name from the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards. This caused tension among the writers. She said she did not deserve the award as she did not have enough material on the season to participate in the nomination. A statement that shocked both the show producers and fans equally.
This infamous Emmy event was just the beginning, and fans were convinced that her character would be killed off in the forthcoming seasons because of this incident. But she continued to have two more seasons before she left the show.
Season six, Episode 12, marks her official exit from the show. In contrast, she was supposed to do more episodes, but she requested to be released from her contract. It was 18 months earlier than her time in the contract. The show producers negotiated with Heigl, and it was mutually agreed that she would no longer be a part of the show and her last episode would be the twelfth one.
Part of the reason for her leaving the show was to focus on her children. She took maternity leave in between the shoot, which was then extended, and she ultimately decided to leave. At the time of season 6, she adopted a child. She said she wanted to prioritize her child and wanted to spend more time building a bond with her child. The ultimate reason for her to leave the show was to spend more time with her family.
Will Izzie Come Back to Grey’s Anatomy?
Initially, the show producer and creator Shonda Rhimes had expressed that she would indeed consider a comeback for Izzie, but as the show got more seasons and as more storylines started to merge in, she completely ruled out the option. She did not completely abandon the character. Izzie’s story is tied up to Alex’s, and she made some appearances in the later season (not in person) for the sake of Alex’s storyline. As of now, Shonda Rhimes is of the opinion that she is “done with that story.”
Katherine Heigl is also eagerly waiting to have a reappearance on the show. Izzie was an important part of the show, and she cannot be abandoned like that. Though her story is wrapped, for now, there is still a possibility of her appearing in the show. If she ever does that, it will be happy news for all the Grey’s Anatomy fans all around the world. As of now, there is no official information about her possibility of getting back, but we can always hope!
Katherine Heigl’s Career After Grey’s Anatomy
She went on to do Romantic Comedies, including Life as we know it, New Year’s Eve, and The Big Wedding. She also starred in Home Sweet Hell, a dark comedy film.
Her recent project is Firefly Lane. She is cast in a leading role along with Ben Lawson and Sarah Chalke. The show was released in 2021 on Netflix. It was a success and was renewed for another season. It was also announced that she would do the biography of Victoria Woodhull, the first female candidate to run for the Presidential election in the United States.
Though she had a reputation for being hard to work with because of all the behind the scene drama that happened in Grey’s Anatomy, her co-stars supported her for being brave and for standing up for herself.