Ellen Pompeo Praises Katherine Heigl for Speaking Up About Unfair Working Conditions

Even if you’re not an avid Grey’s Anatomy watcher, you’ve probably still heard of the show. It’s been around since 2005 and still going strong in season 18, making it one of the longest TV dramas to ever be produced. It’s also very highly rated, with many fans who have been tuned in since the beginning.

However, what happens behind closed doors isn’t necessarily the same as what we see on screen. A few years back, actress Katherine Heigl, who played Dr. Izzie Stevens on the show in the first few seasons, famously called the crew out for making the cast work under the cruel conditions, which is part of the reason she left the show.

Unfortunately, not many people took her complaints seriously. Fans felt like she was acting ungrateful and unprofessional, and some people even assumed she was difficult to work with. Even Diane Sawyer told her that “no one feels sorry for you” in an interview during the time.

However, the truth will always find a way. And now, Ellen Pompeo, who plays the main character Meredith Grey on the show, has come forward to express similar notions on what Heigl tried to tell the world years ago.

On her “Tell Me With Ellen Pompeo” podcast, reflected on what the hours were really like back then, and defended Heigl who came out about them and received so much criticism.

“I remember Heigl said something on a talk show about the insane hours we were working, but she was 100 percent right—and had she said that today she’d be a complete hero, but she was ahead of her time,” she said.

Ellen went on to praise Heigl for standing up for herself and leaving the show as early as she did—and backed her up once again in how crazy the hours used to be. “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,” Ellen said. “And she was f–king ballsy for saying it. And she was telling the truth. She wasn’t lying. Also, when you’re younger, you’re so excited to be there and you’re so happy to be invited to the party that you’re willing to do whatever it is they’re asking you to do.”

Ellen went on to explain that though back then was brutal, now, things have changed for the better. “I’m very lucky now with my schedule on Grey’s,” she said. “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.”

Are you a Grey’s Anatomy fan? What do you think of the long hours the cast was forced to work?