Katherine Heigl at the premiere of 27 Dresses
November 24, 1978
Washington, D.C., U.S.
|Other name(s)||Katie Heigl|
|Spouse(s)||Josh Kelley (m. 2007–present) 1 child (adopted)|
Katherine Marie Heigl (pronounced /ˈhaɪɡəl/; born November 24, 1978) is an American actress. She is best known for her role as Dr. Izzie Stevens on Grey's Anatomy and her starring role in the movies Knocked Up, 27 Dresses and The Ugly Truth.
Heigl started her career as a child model with Wilhelmina Models before she turned her attention to acting. She made her debut in the coming-of-age film, That Night. Heigl appeared in the television series Roswell and movies including My Father the Hero before landing her break out role in Grey's Anatomy. Over the years, Heigl has established herself as a sex symbol and cover model appearing on numerous publications including Maxim, Vanity Fair and Cosmopolitan.
Heigl was born in Washington, D.C., the daughter of Nancy, a personnel manager, and Paul Heigl, a financial executive/accountant. Heigl has German and Irish ancestry, and was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She is the youngest of four children (in addition to siblings Meg, Jason, and Holt). Heigl lived in Virginia and then Denver before her family settled in Connecticut, where they moved into a large, old Victorian-style farmhouse in the wealthy town of New Canaan, where she spent most of her childhood.
In 1986, her older brother Jason died of injuries suffered in a car accident, after being thrown from the back of a pickup truck while out for lunch with some of his high school classmates. Following his death, the family decided to donate his organs. Afterward, their parents converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (prior to that her mother was Lutheran and her father Catholic). Heigl is now a strong proponent of organ donation. Although she is no longer a "strong practicing Mormon", she stated that she hopes to "...find my way back as I get older and a little less selfish."
When Heigl was nine, an aunt visiting the family decided to take a number of photographs of her. After returning to her home in New York, her aunt sent the photos to a number of modeling agencies, with the permission of Heigl's parents. Within a few weeks, Heigl was signed with Wilhelmina Models as a child model. Soon after signing with the agency, a client slated Heigl for use in a magazine advertisement where she made her debut. At the time, she was earning $75 an hour posing for Sears and Lord & Taylor catalogs. Heigl appeared in her first national television spot for Cheerios cereal.
She made her acting debut in the 1992 movie That Night. Heigl appeared as Christina Sebastian in Steven Soderbergh's Depression-era drama King of the Hill before being cast in her first leading role in the 1994 comedy My Father the Hero. During this time, Heigl continued to attend New Canaan High School, balancing her film and modeling work with her academic studies. Heigl dropped out of New Canaan High School after her sophomore year to pursue her career in Hollywood.
In 1995, she starred in the Steven Seagal action thriller Under Siege 2: Dark Territory. Heigl portrayed a 16-year-old travelling on a train across a mountain pass (out of communications range) to visit the grave of her deceased father with uncle Casey Ryback (Seagal), an ex-SEAL counter-terrorist expert. The main plotline has the train hijacked by mercenaries in Colorado, keeping her as a hostage. Much of her work in the film was opposite Morris Chestnut, Sandra Taylor and Everett McGill.
Despite an increased focus on acting, she still modeled extensively, appearing regularly in magazines such as Seventeen. She took the lead role in Disney's made-for-television film Wish Upon a Star in 1996. Also in 1996, Heigl's parents divorced and her mother was diagnosed with cancer. After her high school graduation in 1997, she moved with her mother into a four-bedroom house in Malibu Canyon, Los Angeles, and her mother became her manager.
In 1998, she co-starred with Peter Fonda in a re-working of the classic Shakespearian play The Tempest, set during the American Civil War. Later that year, she starred in the horror film Bride of Chucky.
In 1999, Heigl turned her attention to television when she accepted the role of Isabel Evans on the science fiction TV drama Roswell, a role that was expanded in the show's second and third seasons. Heigl had auditioned for all three of the show's female leads (the other two roles eventually went to Shiri Appleby and Majandra Delfino) before she was finally cast as alien-human hybrid Isabel.
Heigl was frequently featured in photo essays in magazines such as Life, TV Guide, and Teen as well as FHM. She appeared in the FHM and Maxim calendars, FHM's annual "100 Sexiest Women in the World", and was featured in the Girls of Maxim Gallery. In May 2006, Maxim awarded her #12 on their annual Hot 100List as well as voted the 19th "Sexiest Woman in the World" by readers of FHM magazine. While Roswell was in production, Heigl worked on several films, including 100 Girls, an independent 2001 film, and Valentine, a horror film starring David Boreanaz and Denise Richards.
Heigl accepted a role in Ground Zero, a television thriller scheduled to be telecast that fall which was based on the bestselling James Mills novel The Seventh Power, in the spring of 2001. She co-starred as a brilliant and politically-concerned college student who helps to build a nuclear device to illustrate the need for a change in national priorities. The device ends up in the hands of a terrorist following betrayal by a fellow student. However, after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the film was shelved when its plot was considered inappropriate. It reemerged in 2003 under the title Critical Assembly. After the attacks, Heigl recorded a public service announcement for the American Red Cross in an effort to help raise money for victims.
In 2003, Heigl appeared in three television movies. She returned to the horror genre with Evil Never Dies, a modern-day variation on the Frankenstein story co-starring Thomas Gibson. Love Comes Softly, for Hallmark Entertainment, found Heigl starring as Marty Claridge, a young, pregnant newlywed traveling west. (She reprised the role of Marty in the sequel Love's Enduring Promise the next year.) Heigl played Isabella Linton in MTV's modern revamp of Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights. In October 2003, Heigl was cast opposite Johnny Knoxville in The Ringer, a Farrelly brothers comedy that was released in December 2005. Heigl starred as Romy in the 2005 television movie Romy and Michele: In the Beginning, a prequel to the 1997 film Romy and Michele's High School Reunion.
In 2005, Heigl was cast in what would become her most high-profile role to date, as medical intern Dr. Isobel "Izzie" Stevens on Grey's Anatomy, an ABC medical drama. The show, originally introduced as a mid-season replacement, became a huge ratings success and is still one of the highest-rated television series on broadcast television. The same year, Heigl landed the starring role in the independent film, Side Effects, about marketing and the pharmaceutical industry. In late 2006, Heigl was nominated for a Golden Globe award in the category Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-series, or Motion Picture Made for Television for her work on Grey's Anatomy. Also in 2006, she filmed Knocked Up, a comedy from writer/director Judd Apatow, starring opposite Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, and Apatow's real life wife, Leslie Mann. Upon its June 2007 theatrical release, the film received largely positive reviews from critics, and proved to be a box office success. Despite her run of success, she also starred in the box office bomb Zyzzyx Road which despite being filmed in 2004, was not released until 2006. It has been cited as the lowest grossing film of all time. She has been on FHM's "100 Sexiest Women in the World" list twice as of 2007.
On September 16, 2007, Heigl won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Izzie Stevens. In her acceptance speech she acknowledged that even her mother did not believe she would win, and when her name was called, she had to be censored vocally by the telecast's producers, due to her saying "Shit!" when she reacted to the win. Earlier, she had corrected telecast announcer Rebecca Riedy, who had been given an incorrect phonetic spelling of Heigl's name, when she mispronounced her name as Hi-jell before the presentation of the award with Kyle Chandler for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie. She starred in the film, 27 Dresses which was released in January 2008, playing alongside James Marsden.
There was some speculation that Heigl may be leaving Grey's Anatomy after the end of the 2008-2009 season. This speculation revolved around her refusal to put her name in for Emmy Award consideration and the time she had devoted to producing a film version of Carolyn Jessop's book Escape. Grey's showrunner Shonda Rhimes said she was not insulted by Heigl's Emmy withdrawal, but also noted that Heigl's character Izzy had less to do during the season because Heigl asked for a light work schedule. However, despite Heigl's reported displeasure with the previous season as well as suggestions that her character had died, Heigl's return for the sixth season of Grey's has been confirmed by ABC.
Heigl is currently filming the Lionsgate thriller Killers, opposite Ashton Kutcher. She has signed on to star in and produce the big-screen drama Life As We Know It. Life As We Know It revolves around a woman and a man whose respective best friends die in a car accident. Following the tragedy, they are left to share in caring for the deceased's orphaned daughter. Everwood creator Greg Berlanti will direct the film.
Whether or not Katherine Heigl would leave Grey's Anatomy remained to be seen for the bigger part of season six. However, on March 11, 2010, Heigl reportedly did not show up for work when she was supposed to, and that she and Shonda Rhimes had come to an agreement to release her from her contract immediately. Therefore, Heigl's last appearance on the January 21st episode of Grey's Anatomy would also be her final appearance on the series.
Heigl won greater financial success after Knocked Up (2007). The movie grossed $148,761,765 in the U.S., for which she earned a salary of $ 300,000 USD. Heigl got higher wages in the film 27 Dresses (2008), for which she received $ 6 million USD.
Despite Heigl's constant reassurances that she is "quite boring... really", Movie Entertainment called Heigl a complex individual with many contrasts, referring to her as an "ex-model with a strong feminist streak" and an "actress known for her dramatic roles who really wants to do comedy".
In the wake of widespread media attention to accusations of sexism (including articles in New York, The New Yorker, Slate, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Guardian, Vanity Fair and People) against director and producer Judd Apatow and his film Knocked Up, Heigl has been tagged as a potentially important and assertive modern proponent of women's rights.
In a highly-publicized Vanity Fair interview, as one of the lead actors in the hit film Knocked Up, Heigl admitted that though she enjoyed working with Apatow and Rogen, she had a hard time enjoying the film itself. She called the movie "a little sexist", claiming that the film "paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys". In his review for The Guardian, humorist Joe Queenan called Knocked Up "the latest in a new genre of romantic comedies in which an unappealing hero gets together with a gorgeous, successful woman".
Heigl's comments spurred widespread reaction in the media, primarily consisting of personal attacks in which she was called "an ungrateful traitor", "hypocrite", and "assertive, impatient go-getter who quickly tired of waiting for her boyfriend to propose", in some cases debasing her religious beliefs and criticizing her private relationships. Heigl clarified her remarks to People magazine, stating that, "My motive was to encourage other women like myself to not take that element of the movie too seriously and to remember that it's a broad comedy", adding that, "Although I stand behind my opinion, I'm disheartened that it has become the focus of my experience with the movie".
The Guardian noted that Heigl's comments "provoked quite a backlash, and Heigl was described as ungrateful and a traitor. Some people even suggested she would never work again", remarks which in retrospect were not only proved demonstrably wrong but the publicity and promotion in the wake of her comments may well have propelled Heigl's career.
Following the release of 27 Dresses, the New York Post expressed some disappointment with the mismatch of Heigl's talent with the "chick-flick" triviality of the film, suggesting that Heigl might be more compatible "with female directors such as Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don't Cry) or Tamara Jenkins (The Savages)...". On the other hand, her newest project, The Ugly Truth, has been touted as "a battle of the sexes" chick flick.
Heigl has worked with Best Friends Animal Society on several projects including their Pup My Ride program. The program transports small dogs from high-kill animal shelters to other parts of the US where there is a greater demand for such dogs. Her involvement in this led her to give Best Friends a grant which would fund a year of the program.
Heigl and her mother, Nancy, then started Heigl's Hounds of Hope which operates as part of the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation. The Foundation was created in honor of Katherine's brother, who was killed in a car accident in 1986 at the age of fifteen. Heigl's Hounds of Hope rescues larger dogs with behavior problems from shelters with a high kill rate and rehabilitates them through training and other adjustments to make them suitable for re-homing.
As of 2009, Heigl has six dogs of her own.
Heigl dated Joey Lawrence in 1994 and Roswell costar Jason Behr during the run of the series. In June 2006, she became engaged to singer Josh Kelley, whom she met on the set of his music video for "Only You". They were married on December 23, 2007 in Park City, Utah. During a taping of Live With Regis and Kelly, Heigl stating that she and Kelley chose not to live together before they were married, saying, "I think I just wanted to save something for the actual marriage... I wanted there to be something to make the actual marriage different than the dating or the courtship." At the end of 2007, Barbara Walters named Heigl one of "The 11 Most Fascinating People of 2007" on an ABC program of that title. Heigl questioned her inclusion on the list, saying that in fact she is actually "quite boring...not, just kidding, but really". In March 2010, Heigl changed hair color from her signature blonde to brunette.
On September 9, 2009, Heigl's representative confirmed that the couple had started the process of adopting a baby girl from Korea. Later that month, the couple adopted a special needs baby girl they named Nancy Leigh (named after Heigl's mother and sister), nicknamed Naleigh.
|1993||King of the Hill||Christina Sebastian|
|1994||My Father the Hero||Nicole||Nominated — Young Artist Award — Best Performance by a Young Actress Starring in a Motion Picture|
|1995||Under Siege 2: Dark Territory||Sarah Ryback|
|1997||Prince Valiant||Princess Ilene|
|Stand-ins||Taffy-Rita Hayworth's Stand-in|
|1998||Bug Buster||Shannon Griffin|
|Bride of Chucky||Jade|
|2003||Critical Assembly||Aizy Hayward|
|2005||Side Effects||Karly Hert||Executive producer|
|The Ringer||Lynn Sheridan|
|2007||Knocked Up||Alison Scott||Nominated — Empire Award — Best Actress
Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best Performance
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated — Teen Choice Award — Choice Movie Actress: Comedy
|2008||27 Dresses||Jane Nichols|
|2009||The Ugly Truth||Abby Richter||Executive producer
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated — Teen Choice Award — Choice Summer Movie Star: Female
|Life as We Know It||Holly Berenson||Executive producer|
|1996||Wish Upon a Star||Alexia Wheaton||Television movie|
|1998||The Tempest||Miranda Prosper||Television movie|
|1999–2002||Roswell||Isabel Evans||61 episodes
Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress on Television
Nominated — Teen Choice Award — Choice Television Actress
|2001||The Twilight Zone||Andrea Collins||Episode: "Cradle of Darkness"|
|2003||Vegas Dick||Television movie|
|Love Comes Softly||Marty Claridge||Television movie
|Wuthering Heights||Isabel Linton||Television movie|
|Evil Never Dies||Eve||Television movie|
|2004||Love's Enduring Promise||Marty Claridge Davis||Television movie
|2005||Romy and Michele: In the Beginning||Romy White||Television movie|
|2005–2010||Grey's Anatomy||Dr. Isobel "Izzie" Stevens||101 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Drama Series
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (2007, 2008)
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2006, 2008)
Nominated — Teen Choice Award — Choice Television Actress