Shonda Rhimes is opening up to Oprah Winfrey about Katherine Heigl's very public "Grey's Anatomy" slam. In 2008, Heigl famously made it known that she would not submit her name for the Emmy race -- after winning the award in 2007 -- saying she wasn't given good material to work with.
"On some level it stung," Rhimes told Winfrey during an interview airing as part of "Oprah's Next Chapter." "On some level, I was not surprised. When people show you who they are, believe them." Rhimes said that mantra has carried her through the years. "It has served me well," she said.
In the past, Rhimes said she was surprised by Heigl's statements, but asserted the actress asked for a lighter load to accommodate her film work.
"When I was told about it, my reaction was surprised," Rhimes said in 2008. "I have a really wonderful working relationship with Katherine. Everybody knows Izzie is one off my favorite characters ... The back half of the season, Katherine asked me to write her light so that she could do her movie. I don't feel insulted."
Heigl left the series earlier than expected, but has said she would like to return to the character of Dr. Izzie Stevens.
"I really, really, really want to see where [Izzie] is," Heigl told E! Online. "I just want to know what happened to her and where she went and what she's doing now." Heigl said she told producers about her desire to return.
"I want them to know that I'm down with it if they want me to, but I completely understand if it doesn't necessarily work," she told the hosts of "The View."
In response, Rhimes told TV Guide at the time that "it was really nice to hear her appreciating the show." But, she added, "We are on a track we have been planning, and the idea of changing that track is not something we are interested in right now."
"Grey's" star Patrick Dempsey recently told HuffPost TV that he wants to see Izzie's storyline resolved. "It's always hard losing characters that we've grown to love, and certainly from that initial first group, it's unfortunate to see people go on, but I don't think Shonda [Rhimes] will bring anybody back," Dempsey said. "I don't think Izzie's character (Katherine Heigl) was ever really resolved, and I think there's a moment there that should be resolved -- I think that would be nice for the fans. I'm not sure that would happen, but that would be some nice closure I think."
Watch a clip from "Oprah's Next Chapter" below. Winfrey's interview with Rhimes and "Scandal" star Kerry Washington airs Sunday, December 9 at 9 p.m. EST on OWN.