Katherine Heigl explains her image problem

Katherine Heigl’s been on the promotional circuit hyping Life As We Know It, but her interview on KTLA this morning was more candid — and interesting — than most. She talked about her “image problem,” as described in her New York Times profile:

“I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out where I went off track and how and why and what I can do in the future to avoid that. But as he says in the article, nothing I said was particularly scandalous — it just had a tone. And that’s the most important thing I’ve sort of learned as I get older and grow a little bit and get a little less defensive… I can just let go of the tone, and still say what I gotta say, and be honest, and all those things, but maybe not so edgy.”

Heigl may have rubbed a few people the wrong way, but the NYT profile sort of swayed me. Is it really so awful to say things that are true? Of course Knocked Up is “a little bit sexist,” and that season of Grey’s Anatomy did totally suck. Maybe it’s the dawn of a new day for Heigl.

What do you think, PopWatchers?

Comments (257 total) Add your comment
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  • Hannah

    I would have no issue with her comments about Knocked Up if she hadn’t followed it up with 27 Dresses, The Ugly Truth and Life As We Know It.

    • noBob

      Amen,Hannah. Obivously, she didn’t have a problem cashing her multi-million dollar paychecks for her awful movies nor from Gray’s Anatomy. What irks me the most is how she never had anything positive to say about her show even though she wouldn’t have a career to begin with without it.

      • Kris

        I wouldn’t say that. I have heard many lovely things about GA from her. They just dont end up on the front pages of magazines cause that wouldn’t sell.

      • therealeverton

        She has had a career for a very, very long time. In fact for many people she was the most famous person in Greys when it started and the reason to watch.

        I really haven’t seen the negative things that people don’t like so all I have is the fact that I’ve liked her as an actress since the 90s. Oh and 27 dresses wasn’t a terrible film; cheesy yes predictable sure but it had James Marsden in it so it get plus points for that alone.

      • Vince from NYC

        27 Dresses was so a terrible film!Cheesy and predictible is pretty bad to me.

      • brettghampton

        She’s taken over the roles that Ashley Judd, Meg Ryan, and Sandra Bullock used to play in romantic comedies. Except she’s much more beautiful than any of those actresses.

      • Brianna

        @Vince-well duh…you’re a guy! Just go watch The Town. I loved that movie…Ben Affleck rocks!

      • Josie

        @therealeverton Katherine was the reason I started watching GA, she was the most famous person I knew in the beginning and I honestly still wish she was on the show.
        And to everyone else…I think Ms. Heigl can be a bitch but honestly…who isn’t at times. I don’t think she is a diva, she just speaks her mind. Some of the “rude” things she says can be unnecessary but some are justifiable. And as for her making the sexist comment then doing 27 Dresses & The Ugly Truth…she has to build her film career/resume up as well as make a living doing what she does best…which is acting. Whatever she’s doing it is obviously working, she makes 15 million a movie.

      • Denise

        @therealeverton – She was “the most famous person in Greys when it started and the reason to watch” ???
        I knew who Patrick Dempsey was. I knew who Sandra Oh was. I knew who Issaih Washington was. Had to IMDB Heigl to remember that she was in that creepy movie with Gerard Depardieu where she pretended her Dad was her lover. Another film I’m sure she’d rather forget was on her resume!

      • ajmalzx

        therealeverton is right. She’s the only reason I actually watched GA but now I stopped after season 5 (as it were getting borderline ridiculous). I always liked her (being outside the US) i dont really get whats the beef that the media had with her. She’s always been honest and I’m glad the NYT article said pretty much what I was thinking.

      • therealeverton

        @ Denise

        If I had said she was the most famous person on Greys I MAY have been wrong, not certain but I MAY have been. But I never even said she was the most famous person for MOST people, I said for MANY people she was the most famous so in fact it is you who is “wrong”.

        @ ajmalzx

        Thanks, it was her presence that led us to startwatching the show in the first place, then her character was pretty much our favourite.

      • J

        I’d be more than happy to cash a multi-million paycheck for doing lousy movies – more power to her!

      • k

        hasn’t she made enough money already? i wish she would just go away.

      • graeme

        How exactly was Katherine Heigl the most famous person on Grey’s when it started? She was a no name.

        Sandra Oh had a lot of indie cred, and Patrick Dempsey had already been in several movies and tv shows.

      • therealeverton

        @ graeme

        Same to you as I said to Josie, I never said she was the most famou person on Greys. I said she was the most famous person that many proplr knew. I’d venture that she was the most famous person in the show for a significant number of the international audience as we knew her from her movie work and Roswell. I dont know anyone who knew any of the other acctors more than they did the star of the Mon Pere ce Hero remake or “co-star” of Under Siege 2 or co-star of Dido theme song show Roswell. Certainly more than any of the others in the show. We may have sorta recognised some of the other ut her we knew on sight and what we’d seen her in and that we liked her and would give her new show a try. It’s meaningless in the whole like or dislike scheme of things but wheter or not you or lots of people, Americans in particular, knew more of the other actors in Greys it remains a nonsense to try and claim that she was a nobody.

      • therealeverton

        Sorry I meant Denise, not Josie.Josie was also more aware of KH.

      • ashlee

        Hannah, noBob, so true. And her current film is a real stinker. She is neck and neck with Anniston as a middle-aged light comedian taking roles no other actress wants.

    • Mr. Holloway

      Don’t forget “Killers”, so you can complete Heigl’s Mount Crapmore of “comedies.” (Even if I didn’t totally hate “27 Dresses” because my boy James Marsden was in it.)

      • tJhooKer

        Its pretty sad when my wife tells me to turn off “Killers” before I do….and she’s a fan of this skank.

      • josef

        tJhooKer: you’re the skank.

    • Tom Brazelton

      Bingo. Plus, considering that Knocked Up was pretty much the film that made her a movie star, it looked ungrateful.

      Speak the truth, certainly. But serve it with a dash of humility. Her admitting that the New York Times’ assessment of her image problem was “fair” was probably the first time I’ve ever seen her act contrite.

    • Rusty

      Well said. Her biggest problem is her choice of projects.

      • Bree

        Her biggest problem is that she is a female dog.

      • wino

        She’s not the most likeable person but how do you know she’s a -itch. From a couple of “quotes” exploited by the media? If a male actor had said the same things, he wouldve been labeled “frank,candid” …. Her movies have sucked, but so has this weird backlash.

    • tarc

      The problem with Hannah’s comment that is doesn’t recognize that Knocked-Up was *heinously* sexist and only in one direction. The other movies mentioned, in particular The Ugly Truth was sexist, but in BOTH directions. Big difference.

      • A-K87

        I wouldn’t say Knocked Up was sexist. I just really think that those brands of films are targeted towards Men’s Men. The film is from a Man’s perspective and for men. Apatow and co created this new Bromance wave and it’s brilliant.

      • Jenn

        Again though, nobody forced her to make Knocked Up. She presumably had a chance to read the script before accepting a role in the film. She read it, filmed it, promoted it, and got paid all before she decided to say it was sexist. If she felt that strongly then she never should have made the movie.

      • Person Who Talks

        Knocked Up portrays men as insensitive, non-commital children and you say its only sexist in one direction? Lighten up, it’s just a movie and it goes both ways

      • pahammer

        I don’t give a crap whether the movies were sexist or not. The point is that Ms Heigl’s movies are consistently garbage.

      • sonja

        Thank-you Jenn you took the words out of my mouth!!! If the script was so sexist she didn’t have to take the role.

    • Person Who Talks

      I know so many people–myself included–who would jump at any chance whatsoever to make it in the entertainment industry and yet Heigl is simply ungrateful towards the show and film that made the rest of her crappy career possible…

      • Seriously

        Well said. She lacks humility and doesn’t understand the difference between confidence and arrogance, candidness and rudeness. She talked all kinds of crap about the writers on Grey’s who wrote the scenes that allowed her to get the Emmy she claimed “she SO deserved” in Season 2. And as for her taking over the place of Meg, Sandra, and the like. No sirree. Meg has When Harry Met Sally, Sandy has Crash and The Blind Side (Oscar, hello!), Heigl’s best acting work was done on the show she loves to diss in interviews.

    • lilian

      I think her image problem has more to do with the goddamm awful awful movies she appears in. I never minded that she was candid. I actually kind of liked that about her.

    • TD Sims

      YEs! Thank you Hannah!

    • JiggaWhoo

      She’s a C U Next Tuesday, plain and simple. Will never forget how bratty she was when the announcer slightly mispronounced her name at the Emmys that one time. This woman is pure b1tch.

    • jared

      Amen, sista!

  • Heather A.

    That’s a lesson most of us have to learn, usually as we exit the volatile 20-something years. It’s just that we don’t have to learn it in front of the cameras and with every stupid comment becoming front page material. Congrats to Katherine Heigl for growing up. Let’s give her a break.

    • k

      that bi*ch has burned her bridges – it has nothing to do about “growing up” – she’s ungrateful, untalented & unwanted IMO

  • Miranda

    Well…I still think there is an unhealthy sense of entitlement there. 100% of the truth 100% of the time is actually a pretty self-involved way to live.

    • Bees Knees

      I love her…but I have to agree! That is a very self-involved way to carry yourself.

      • psyche

        that was my reaction too.
        if you think the writers are giving you crap, then you don’t need to air it in public. people have filters for a reason, and calling out your colleagues for (in your opinion) sh** work on the public stage is not honest in an “awesome” way, it’s just callous.

    • ryan

      Um 100 percent of the truth all the time is called being honest, not self-involved.

      • AD

        Really, Ryan, 100% truth all the time is honesty? How about, maybe cruelty, as if I said the truth that “Ryan (or any other name), you are ugly and stupid. It may be the truth, but it would be cruelty to say it. No one in polite society tells the truth 100% of the time.

      • K

        It’s self-serving honesty. “I don’t deserve a nomination because the writers haven’t given me good material.” Uh, ok, but it could be that there are better performances anyway sister.

      • John

        haha, wow, AD… You’re arguing that speaking the truth all of the time isn’t honesty? Do you know what the word means? And calling someone ugly and stupid is not honesty, it’s subjective. It’s an opinion. I really hope you’re a middle school student or a high school student because I would feel really bad if there were an adult out there that is this ridiculous.

      • Amy

        John, saying that you don’t deserve to be nominated for an Emmy because the writers didn’t give you good material is subjective as well. Katherine Heigl isn’t being honest when she says a lot of the things she says. She is stating her opinion. It’s not a proven fact that Knocked Up is sexist. I didn’t find it sexist. That’s her opinion. Her problem is that she is constantly stating her opinions and some of them make her seem rather ungrateful. She should just stop talking for a long time and really think hard about the next movie she makes. This could possibly help her image problem.

      • monkey39

        Apparently you need a dictionary to look up the difference between truth and honesty. Saying someone is ugly and stupid may not be the “truth,” but it would be an “honest” subjective opinion.

    • Anno

      It’s not always just about telling the truth but who you are telling it to. Did the whole world really need to know her opinion about the writers of Greys Anatomy? How often do you see writers going to the media to criticize actors? Complain to your friends or coworkers if you must but don’t go to the media. Humiliating people is just cruel.

      • Emily

        She gets a lot of guff for that comment, however I think she was kind of right on the money with it. That season she had one of the lighter storylines, nothing compared to what she had the season before, and some of the other characters had stories that were just way more compelling and way more deserving of an award. There’s probably a way she could have said it better, but it was the truth. Besides, it’s not like she went to the media with it – someone asked her the question when she was doing press for something else.

    • tarc

      Since you only have access to 0.01% or less of Heigl’s thoughts, how would you know?

    • brettghampton

      I think there’s an unhealthy sense of being judgmental here. Thinking someone’s feeling entitled based on a hundred or so words is actually pretty holier-than-thou.

  • PJ

    It’s not so much about being honest, but being gracious to what has advanced your career. Knocked Up and Grey’s Anatomy helped make her the star she is. Without those, she wouldn’t be as famous. It makes her sound arrogant.

    • nancywinn


    • BlueGreenie

      Agreed. How about you don’t take the check if you think the material is dreck?

      • Jay

        Thats just foolish.

        I’ve worked at many jobs over the years that I thought sucked, were a waste of time, or just generally unfulfilling.

        Of course I cashed those paychecks. To not cash them is just stupid

      • K

        The things was that she insulted the people who worked on it with her and she never bothered to talk to them about it, even after she said it. People also usually wait until it’s been at least a year or so after the movie is out, not while it is still in theatres and being nominated for awards.

    • stevenjaba

      Agree completely. That is exactly her problem.

    • Diane

      You nailed it.

    • Jake

      Well, she’s not being honest for our benefit, that’s for herself. She’s obviously shown her gratitude towards Grey’s Anatomy on multiple occasions, Knocked Up not really, but once or twice yes. People are too hard on her, she didn’t kill someone.

    • kate

      Anyone remember her emmy speech? She said something along the lines of how hard she worked and how much she deserved it and her tone was very off putting.

      • therealeverton

        She’s not allowed to say she’s worked hard or that she’s earned her equivilent of a pomotion or pay rise? Because wherever I’ve worked we all did that. We all complained about the parts of our jobs that we thought were crap.

        I don’t remember John Malkovitch getting this kind of grief for bad mouthing his “for the money” part in con Air; a “horrible, horrible movie” I think he called it?

        Seems prettier and younger and perhaps being female gets you less leeway? Or maybe it’s just that I don’t know how “bad” all of these things are because I’ve never really seen them?

        What do you think?

      • LL

        Heigl has been acting since she was a kid, and not many people realize/remember that. To me her Emmy speech meant that she was so happy that after so many years of hard work, she got this amazing award. I remember being touched when she thanked her mother for being with her every step of her career.

    • tarc

      First off, why should Heigl be held to a standard no one else is. Secondly, Heigl *has* been very gracious to Grey’s – despite all the very serious problems there. Saying otherwise is just picking and choosing comments.

    • WhitneyD

      Agreed! Personally, I thought the worst was when she said that on Letterman that Grey’s had her working all sorts of overtime and that she should call them out on it- when they’d done it so that she could be on the show and promote the movies she’d shot.

  • Aaron

    Personally I think the media campaign against the poor woman borders on the vindictive. Anyone would think she murdered a baby.

    • Ana170

      No, no murdered babies, she just makes it hard to like her. And her image problem is her own fault not the media’s.

      • AK

        Which she admits and wants to change, and yet everybody goes on attacking her.

    • elashakti

      I agree. People have a problem with strong, direct women. I think she did sound ungrateful, but a man who said the same thing wouldn’t have gotten slammed like she did.

    • Kris

      Amen to that. 90% of the time the media took things out of context and turned things she said around on her to make her sound aweful.

      • John

        Exactly! Anybody who would work 17+ hours a day, every day, would make those comments to anyone. I saw that interview and she didn’t even say it in an awful way, it was just construed by the media to be a bitch. She wasn’t the first person, nor will she be the last, to make a comment about the ridiculous working hours. There have been multiple actors who have complained about it and have quit working on TV because of it, but they don’t get the media lash out.

    • tarc

      Frankly, it’s been very clear over the last couple years that Heigl is just the scapegoat du jour for the unhappy and jealous ladies out there. It’s probably tough to swalllow dealing with such a beautiful, intelligent, loyal, well-spoken, honest, successful woman. I think she’s fantastic; too bad the media seems to constantly lie about her.

      • Sean


      • amanda

        totally agree!

      • Kate

        Hmmm, my problem with Heigl isn’t that she’s said these things (I have no problem with her voicing her opinion on the work she’s done), but that in every movie I see her in, she portrays the exact opposite of what you described. Maybe you should ask why a “beautiful, intelligent, loyal, well-spoken, honest, and successful” woman chooses to play nothing but shrewish, uptight, neurotic, and humourless women. I have a much bigger problem with the image of women she projects than who she is. She thinks Knocked Up is sexist, but then goes and makes the APALLING The Ugly Truth (which also made me despise my former boyfriend, Butler)? And by the way, the “you don’t like her, you’re jealous” speech – Really? Don’t you have a Twilight board to be on somewhere? I hate statements like that that completely ignore there are valid reasons to dislike her behaviour.

      • Kate

        Dang, stupid speed typing. I meant “appalling.”

      • reason

        I think it is more about women just being more comfortable thrashing into other women, maybe not even realizing they are jealous. You can claim til your blue in the face that you don’t like her because she chooses to make movies like the Ugly Truth, but the Ugly Truth made a ton of money, partly because of Heigl, so this is what people want, don’t blame Heigl, or Butler, blame the people paying to see the “crap.” And if she has to make these movies to cash the checks that fund these organizations she is involved in, then more power to her. I think if Heigl were a man, her comments would be deemed heroic and brave.

      • datruth82

        Agreed. I don’t have a problem with her honesty. In fact, I appreciate it. Also, it’s important to remember that by the time the directors, editors, marketers and studio are done with a movie, it may turn out nothing like it appeared on paper (in the script), or even while filming. So, to those arguing she shouldn’t have made those movies, the projects could’ve ended up being completely different than initially presented.

  • Conor O’Brien

    i agree with most of what she said, even having problems with her story lines on GA, but I really wish she did better movie (as of right now cable TV shows are far better than most movies) so she left a complexed character like Izzie Stevens to do silly Rom-Coms!!?? she should be doing much better stuff

    • t.t

      i think she jumped ship the right time with greys cause even her movies are better than the past 2 or 3 seasons of greys

    • Kris

      She jumped ship so she’d have more time to raise her newborn baby. I’m pretty sure she’ll return to GA a few seasons from now. Given it’s still there.

      • Butter

        And who said they’d want her back? If you watch GA now you won’t even remember that there was once a character named Izzie! The show has moved on without her!

    • Jake

      I agree, her movie choices have been poor, maybe she’s just had bad luck though. Sometimes movies look a lot better during pre-production!

    • reason

      she jumped a sinking ship! GA is getting back on track now, but it was pretty bad for a little while. And even when GA is subpar, Heigl always brought it up another level, very talented young woman.

  • Jeff

    Anyone who says Knocked Up is sexist but then films The Ugly Truth (the most offensive, sexist movie ever filmed) doesn’t understand the meaning of the word…

    • Al O

      I agree. The Ugly Truth was far more sexist. Of course, Heigl would never admit this because she exec. produced that terrible movie.

      • tarc

        Uh, hardly. Knocked-Up was all about horrible, shrewish women that seem not to be able to resist fat, ugly slackers with no plus sides. I’m not sure you could be much more heinously sexist if you tried.

  • Gigii


  • Stacey

    Except you need to follow it up with decent boxoffice. If you start to fail to open films; and you rep is bascially a loose mouth; willing to say anything… That gets in trouble. And eventually if she continues to not open movies and makes bad movies. People will move on and she’ll start not to get work. Yeah her comments have bases in logic and truth but the way she was saying. Going on Letterman and badmouthing your work schedule on Grey’s while may a HUGE paycheck. It’s not a way to get sympathy on her side. And she’s had this issue since Roswell. Where she was a pain on set and in the press. Yeah, if you’re young it can be waive off as youth but it’s a decade later and she’s been a big mouth one time to often. Knocked Up was sexist but she’s made some bad movies since that could be said to be the same… yet she still does them… She has to pick better material. She actually did some excellent work on Grey’s. Yet she burned bridges and got the public against her… No wonder she only gets these dumb comedies…

  • SaraJ

    I’m glad she addressed it. I like her very much as an actor and as a person – and that’s important for me to go see someone’s movie.
    I just wish she wouldn’t have thrown away Grey’s Anatomy, because the viewers miss her and the Alex thing is a big let-down.

    • J

      You like her as a person? How would you know that? Because you guys hang out together after work, right?.. I don’t get it, why does somebody’s behavior off camera have any influence on whether or not you’re going to see their movie? They’re acting!! Don’t people go to movies because the stories interest them?

      • therealeverton

        But this whole thread is about how people believe they feel about her as a person because of what she says and how she says it.

    • Andrew

      @J: Are you saying there aren’t any celebrities you know of enough to “like” generally as a person?
      I think you can like a celebrity as a person having read/watched interviews, take into consideration how they handle themselves w/ the paparazzi and in the public eye, if they seem intelligent or spit out manager-fed responses, etc.
      For example, I like Jay-Z as a person (seems friendly, driven and classy) but do not care for his music.

  • cam

    sort of an interesting study on how being truthful can be constured as ungrateful or rude; or “badmouthing” something succesful you’ve been “lucy enough” to be in makes you look like a b*tch, even if the points are valid.

    We say we value honesty, but there are conditions, oddly enough. I don’t think her problem is her “tone” or “edge” but her timing. “If you can’t say anything nice… save it for the memoir.”

  • cam

    * lucky enough

  • Carrie

    She seems like an okay person, but she has definitely put her foot in her mouth a few times. If she wants to be taken seriously, she needs to stop making those godawful romantic comedies.

  • Bee

    love, love, love katherine. i don’t get all the hate. sure she made some comments as she said, with a tone, (nothing she said was that bad honestly) but people act like she tarnished america’s image or something or said the most evil things in the world. anything she says is with a bit of humor anyway/kind of serious, kind of a joke. the media just likes to spin things out of control and make her seem like some cold-hearted monster who hates everyone and everything. she also just started a charity for animals called the Compassion Revolution and donated an incredible $1 million to animal causes. no one likes to report that stuff. and even if anyone did truly hate her and her comments, i don’t know why you would still hold a grudge when she’s stated so often that she would take it back/has learned from her mistakes/regrets saying some of those things/didn’t mean to upset anyone.

  • Butters

    Her problem is her taste. She says Knocked Up was sexist and didn’t like the way it made women look. Since then, her characters have been totally unrecognizable as humans, let alone women.

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