She was riding high back in 2007. The former Grey's Anatomy star not only won an Emmy Award for best supporting actress in a drama series that year, she also began transitioning over to the big screen with her successful starring turn in Judd Apatow's Knocked Up opposite Seth Rogen.
Unfortunately, this movie-star-in-the-making's rise to the top quickly unraveled following an infamously ill-fated interview with Vanity Fair the following January. In a move that still has us scratching our heads, Heigl openly trashed her own work in the coveted cover story, saying,
"It was a little sexist. 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. I'm playing such a b----; 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."
Given the beloved flick's undeniable success with audiences and critics, Heigl's candid comments sparked immediate backlash. For their part, Apatow and Rogen both chimed in on the matter during a joint interview on The Howard Stern Show in 2009. The fan-favorite writer-director admitted he was confused over Heigl's comments, saying,
"We never had a 'fight'…Seth always says, it doesn't make any sense [because] she improvised half her s---...[You think] at some point I'll get a call saying 'Sorry, I was tired' and then the call never comes.'"
Meanwhile, Rogen felt Heigl's criticisms were hypocritical considering the portrayal of women in her follow-up rom-com, The Ugly Truth.
Soon after proving her A-lister clout between Knocked Up and Grey's Anatomy, Heigl also began to burn bridges in TV land after shockingly withdrawing her name from Emmy contention in 2008. The actress released a statement at the time, saying,
"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."
Understandably, Grey's showrunner Shonda Rhimes was insulted by Heigl's remarks.
Meanwhile, Heigl and Seth Rogen have since appeared to end their alleged feud. During an interview with Howard Stern in August 2016, the comedy actor looked back fondly on his experience working with Heigl, saying,
"As we were making the movie, honestly, I was like, 'I would make a dozen movies with her...I was having a really good time, and then when I heard afterward that she didn't like it, that she seemed to not like the process, and she did not like the end product either. I think when that happens...your trust feels somewhat betrayed."
However, Rogen's compassion for his former co-star's subsequent plight has seemingly grown over the years, as he continued,
"I respect the fact that perhaps she realizes it has hurt her career, and I don't want that to have happened to her at all."
Heigl has since expressed regret for saying anything at all in that fateful Vanity Fair spread. In fact, Heigl told Howard Stern in 2016 that she went to therapy to deal with the stress of her, quote, "difficult" reputation. She later responded to Rogen's kind remarks while speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, saying,
"I think that he's handled that so beautifully, and I just feel nothing but love and respect. And it was so long ago at this point, I just wish him so much goodness, and I felt that from him, too."
Well, if Heigl and Rogen can bury the hatchet, perhaps there's still hope for her reputation in Tinseltown.
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