All The Tea That Katherine Heigl & Ellen Pompeo Spilled In Their Iconic Reunion Interview

Grey’s Anatomy co-stars and besties, Ellen Pompeo and Katherine Heigl, have spilled a bunch of goss about their time on the medical drama.

On Variety‘s interview series Actors on Actors, Pompeo and Heigl, who played Dr Meredith Grey and Dr Izzie Stevens, reunited for a candid chat. Throughout the interview, the Grey’s Anatomy girlies shared a bunch of behind-the-scenes info about the show and how it has impacted their lives.

Heigl’s experience with negative press

Unfortunately for Heigl, she received backlash after she spoke out against a variety of issues, such as the sexism in her hit 2000s movie Knocked Up and the harsh “poor working conditions” of the Grey’s Anatomy set. And it’s no secret that her negative experience with the press has impacted her, as she previously spoke out against accusations that she was “difficult” and “unprofessional”.

Honestly, my two cents is that it’s fucked up that she received so much flak for being candid, honest and right … especially about Knocked Up.

In the Variety interview, Heigl revealed that she was only able to “tune out the noise” of the negative press when she reached her mid-thirties.

“I was so naive. I got on my soapbox and I had some things to say, and I felt really passionate about this stuff. I felt really strongly. I felt so strongly that I also got a megaphone out on my soapbox. There was no part of me that imagined a bad reaction. I felt really justified in how I felt about it and where I was coming from,” she said.

“I’ve spent most of my life — I think most women do — being in that people-pleasing mode. It’s really disconcerting when you feel like you have really displeased everybody. It was not my intention to do so, but I had some things to say, and I didn’t think I was going to get such a strong reaction.

“I was in my late twenties. It took me until probably my mid-to-late thirties to really get back to tuning out all of the noise and going, ‘But who are you? Are you this bad person? Are you ungrateful? Are you unprofessional? Are you difficult?’ Because I was confused! 

“I thought maybe I was. I literally believed that version, and felt such shame for such a long time, and then had to go, “Wait. Who am I listening to? I’m not even listening to myself. I know who I am.”

Pompeo and Heigl joked that the Firefly Lane actress should’ve waited for Twitter and that Heigl would’ve been “huge” if she shared her opinions on the platform.

“Somehow now, collectively, the whole world gets to criticize everything and tell everybody to fuck off, and it’s OK. But when you [Heigl] did it …” Pompeo said.

“They didn’t like me. Oh, well. What are you going to do?” Heigl replied.

The conception of “pick me girls” via Pompeo’s iconic speech

So this little chat is definitely my favourite part of the interview. When Heigl asked if people still quote dialogue from Grey’s Anatomy to Pompeo, the actress shared a hilarious story that involved her daughter, her friends and the dreaded “pick me, choose me” line.

“So, OK, this is a real thing. My daughter and her friends, they sit around and they’re like, ‘Oh, she’s a ‘pick me girl,’” Pompeo said.

“I’m like, ‘What’s a pick me girl?’ They were like, ‘You know, girls who are like, ‘Pick me, choose me!’ And I’m like, ‘Hello?! Do you know who invented the ‘pick me girl’?’”

The actress revealed that she fought against the scene and that she didn’t want to do it.

“In the scene, I’m crying, but I’m really crying because I have to beg a man on television,” she said.

That line lives in my head rent-free.

How Heigl used a traumatic memory to act out one of the most heartbreaking scenes of Grey’s Anatomy

This part of the interview was quite hard to listen to. Heigl explained how she used her brother’s death to help act out the heartbreaking scene when Denny Duquette (Jeffery Dean Morgan) dies.

I’m literally going to link it below with my eyes closed, just in case you haven’t seen the full throttle of the emotion of this scene.

Heigl said, “When it got to the point where he dies and she’s laying in the bed with him, I wanted so badly to nail that scene. I wanted it to feel the way it was written on the page.”

“I don’t like to do that whole ‘go into the dark place and listen to the music that’s going to tear my soul apart’ thing. And the worst was that I really went there. I was seven when my brother died, but we were in the hospital for a week. I don’t enjoy thinking about that much or that week in the hospital or him in that bed, but I chose to do that for that scene.

“I don’t think I’d do it again. I don’t think I would put myself in that headspace again to achieve that. I think I would try harder to just act it.”

They’re Zendaya stans, just like us

Pompeo and Heigl praised Zendaya for her ability to handle fame and attention, as they both mentioned that having the success that Grey’s Anatomy had was not easy — especially with the negative attention that Heigl experienced.

“She’s perfect and gorgeous and the most gracious young woman and has handled an enormous amount of attention and fame with incredibly impressive grace,” Pompeo said.

“I’ve certainly never handled every situation perfectly. I’d like to see other people try to walk a mile in your [Heigl] shoes during that time, and let’s see how they would’ve handled it.”

One of the best things about this interview is that it leaned into the long-awaited and well-deserved Heigl Renaissance. Many folks in the comments showed their support for Heigl and Pompeo and how the interview gave them the opportunity to be themselves.

Although this was just an interview for Variety and their Actors on Actors video series, I really hope we see them reunite as co-stars again.