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Katherine Heigl says her mental health suffered after Hollywood labelled her "difficult"

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“Firefly Lane” – Netflix

(LOS ANGELES) — (NOTE LANGUAGE) Grey’s Anatomy alum Katherine Heigl reflected on her turbulent time in Hollywood after she began speaking her mind about her career.

In a candid interview with The Washington Post, the 42-year-old actress opened up about the time she was branded “difficult” and Hollywood started “shunning” her — which she says was punishment for advocating for herself.

“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,'” explained Heigl. “What is your definition of difficult? Somebody with an opinion that you don’t like?”

The Firefly Lane star wouldn’t shy away from discussing what she liked and didn’t like about her current projects, most famously when she called Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up “a little sexist” for making certain women appear as “shrews.” 

She also famously took herself out of the running for Emmy consideration one season when she was on Grey’s Anatomy, criticizing the show’s writing as not being up to snuff for her character. She eventually left the show for a movie career that saw diminishing returns. 

In a 2014 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Grey’s creator Rhimes said of her shows: “I don’t put up with bulls**t or nasty people, I don’t have time for it.” She added that there were “no Heigls” working on her current shows, which also included Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder.

Heigl said she wasn’t deterred from speaking her mind back then, adding, “You can be the most awful, difficult, horrible person on the planet, but if you’re making them money, they’re going to keep hiring you… But then my films started to make not quite as much money.”

Heigl says her deteriorating reputation caused her mental health to spiral.

“I think my family, my mother, my husband, my friends were scared. And I regret deeply that I scared them like that. But I just couldn’t control it. I had no tools,” the 27 Dresses star confessed, adding, “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.”

Heigl, who was recently diagnosed with anxiety and is now regularly seeing a therapist, is unafraid to return to Hollywood and speak her mind.

As for what she hopes for Firefly Lane?  That it’s renewed for three seasons.

By Danielle Long
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