At a Sunday press event for her fall drama "State of Affairs," in which she plays the CIA analyst who briefs the president every day, the former "Grey's Anatomy" star was asked about reports that she and her mother, Nancy Heigl, who is an executive producer of the NBC show, are hard to work with.
Why do those reports exist, a reporter asked -- and had Heigl been punished by the industry for being a woman who speaks her mind?
"I can't really speak to that," Heigl replied. "I can only say that I certainly don't see myself as being difficult. I would never intend to be difficult. I don't think my mother sees herself as being difficult. I think it's important to everybody to conduct themselves professionally and respectfully and kindly. If I have ever disappointed somebody, it was not intentional."
When asked what her mother did on the show, Heigl responded, "She bakes us cookies."
Nancy Heigl, who was at the Television Critics Association media event as well, said that being an executive producer was a "learning" experience.
"I'm a newcomer to it," said Nancy Heigl, who has long worked with her daughter in a professional capacity.
"Katie and I obviously have a partnership where we work in the business together," she said. "I am her mother, for sure, so of course I care about her interests."
Katherine was asked if, as recent press reports indicate, she was ever close to leaving the industry.
"Not that close, obviously," she said with a laugh. "I took a couple years off to just really be with my family and be with my new daughter and then expand that family. I needed that time needed to be mom and be a wife and be a friend and really revel in that and remember what it is I feel so passionate about in this industry."
A reporter asked about comments from Heigl that indicated that in recent years, she felt her career had gotten away from her.
"I don't know that I said that my career is not in my control," Heigl replied. "I think I said I that had stopped challenging myself and I was making choices that I loved, that I was excited about -- I love making romantic comedies and love watching them. But I stopped sort of exercising different muscles of my ability. And in that moment, I felt that I was letting down my audience and I wasn't challenging them either."
"A lot of people want to know, 'Why this show? Why come back to television?'" said Heigl, who is also an executive producer of "State of Affairs. "Because it's an extraordinary role, an extraordinary opportunity and an extraordinary story, and an opportunity for me to flex some different muscles and show some different sides of myself as actor and performer and storyteller that I hope my audience will be excited about and love."