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Ellen Pompeo Finally Backs Katherine Heigl’s Claims About Grey’s Anatomy’s ‘Cruel’ Working Conditions

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Ellen Pompeo finally has something to say about her former co-star Katherine Heigl‘s infamous call out about the working conditions on set of Grey’s Anatomy. 

As you may recall, the 43-year-old actress – who portrayed Dr. Izzie Stevens on the hit medical drama from 2005 to 2010 – faced a ton of backlash after blasting the series for the long hours on set during an appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman back in 2009. She said at the time:

“Our first day back was Wednesday. It was — I’m going to keep saying this because I hope it embarrasses them — a 17-hour day, which I think is cruel and mean.”

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The candid interview, along with withdrawing her name from Emmy‘s consideration for Best Supporting Actress, pretty much changed the course of her entire career as she was labeled as “difficult” and “unprofessional” in the industry. And now, Pompeo is speaking out about the drama more than a decade later.

During the latest episode of her podcast Tell Me with Ellen Pompeo, she voiced her support for the Katherine’s comments. She recalled:

“I remember Heigl said something on a talk show about the insane hours we were working. And she was 100 percent right. 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, let’s slam a woman and call her ungrateful. When the truth is, she’s 100 percent honest and it’s absolutely correct what she said.”

The 52-year-old actress went on to praise the Knocked Up star for having the guts to talk about the awful working conditions before admitting she was right about the situation on set back then:

“She was f**king ballsy for saying it. And she was telling the truth. She wasn’t lying.”

However, Ellen noted that things have improved since Katherine’s exit:

“I’m very lucky now with my schedule on Grey’s. I get to cut back. And overall I’m happy for the production as a whole, because we have cut back tremendously. Back in the day, we used to do crazy, crazy hours. That alone will make you insane.”


While it is great that Ellen has come to Katherine’s defense, we cannot deny that it feels a little too late. We mean, it would have been more helpful for her to stick up for her co-star years ago – especially since Katherine has spent so long being blacklisted from Hollywood for telling the truth about what was going on behind the scenes. So why speak up now all of a sudden? Why couldn’t Ellen say something then? Her support certainly would have held so much weight, you know, since she was the star of the show! And who knows what would have happened to Katherine’s career if Ellen had spoken up then. Of  course, on the other hand, Ellen herself may have felt too intimidated to do so given the public’s reaction — and who knows what else going on behind the scenes. We mean, Katherine didn’t stay on the show for much longer after those comments and the Emmy withdrawal. So it wouldn’t surprise us if others felt pressured to stay silent. Ultimately the bad guy is neither Ellen nor Katherine, but an industry culture that makes it acceptable for such working conditions in the first place!

Reactions, Perezcious readers? Sound OFF in the comments (below)!

[Image via Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube]

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