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Pompeo agreed about the “insane hours” during a recent appearance on the “Tell Me” podcast.
“I remember Heigl said something on a talk show about the insane hours we were working, and she was 100% right,” Pompeo said Wednesday.
“And had she said that today, she’d be a complete hero. But she’s ahead of her time, made a statement about our crazy hours and, of course, [it was like] let’s slam a woman and call her ungrateful.”
Katherine Heigl and Ellen Pompeo in the “Grey’s Anatomy” episode “Here Comes the Flood.” (Eric McCandless/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)
“When the truth is, she’s 100% honest, and it’s absolutely correct what she said,” Pompeo added. “She was f—— ballsy for saying it. She was telling the truth. She wasn’t lying!”
Heigl made the comments about the show hours in 2009 during an appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman.”
The actress was filming the sixth season of the medical drama. She revealed the average workday for cast and crew was 17 hours.
Ellen Pompeo in the “Grey’s Anatomy” episode “Here Comes the Flood.” (Eric McCandless/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)
“I’m gonna keep saying this ’cause I hope it embarrasses them,” Heigl said at the time.
Heigl had made headlines the year before for not submitting her work on “Grey’s Anatomy” for Emmys consideration. The media coverage of both the Emmys scandal and the workday comments earned Heigl a reputation for being “difficult.”
However, the “27 Dresses” actress set the record straight on why she left the show in Lynette Rice’s book, “How to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey’s Anatomy.”
“I started a family, and it changed everything,” Heigl told Rice. “It changed my desire to work full time.”
The cast of “Grey’s Anatomy” in the episode “Six Days.” (Michael Desmond/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)
Heigl clarified that she didn’t refuse to return to the series, but that things just didn’t work out.
“So before I was due back, I spoke again to (show producer) Shonda (Rhimes) about wanting to leave,” the actress recalled. “Then I waited at home until I was given the formal OK that I was off the show. The rumors that I refused to return were totally untrue.
“[Shonda] wanted to try to figure out how I could do both [parenting and Grey’s], and I kind of wanted to do both,” Katherine explained. “There wasn’t a great way to compromise the work schedule that didn’t negatively affect the crew or the cast. It wasn’t feeling fair to them or the show to ask them to bend around my needs.”