Katherine Heigl’s return from the brink of Hollywood’s blacklist is pretty much complete. But before she found herself in that precarious situation, she had a good thing going. One of those good things can now be seen on Netflix.
Life As We Know It stars Katherine Heigl as bakery owner Holly Berenson. Her co-star, Josh Duhamel, is Eric Messer, a sports director for the Atlanta Hawks, a professional basketball team. When they get set up on a date by their best friends Peter and Allison, the date goes terribly wrong, causing Holly and Eric to despise each other. Life, as they know it, is about to change for the two.
Peter and Allison have a one-year-old, Sophie. Not long after her first birthday, Peter and Allison are tragically taken away from Sophie in a car crash. Holly and Eric then find out that Peter and Allison have made them Sophie’s joint guardians.
Though the pair can’t stand each other, they try to put their differences aside and move in together. The struggles are only beginning.
Holly’s work keeps her busy, especially given the fact that she’s trying to grow her business. Eric’s job has him traveling, so trying to raise a child makes for tough times. When Eric has the opportunity to direct a big game, he ends up having to take Sophie with him as Holly is tied up with her own work. It doesn’t end well for Eric.
Child Protective Services then gets involved and their caseworker tells Holly and Eric they need to decide if they are going to commit or split. Though Eric didn’t fare well with his big directing assignment, he gets an offer for a dream job in Phoenix, which he accepts.
With Eric now in Phoenix and Holly and Sophie in Atlanta, how are they to live up to Peter and Allison’s wishes?
Life As We Know It was not a critical hit. As with many movies, though, audiences see things in a different light. Greg Berlanti, the same who brought the CW’s Arrowverse to life as well as hit shows like Dawson’s Creek, Brothers & Sisters, Eli Stone, and No Ordinary Family, directed Life As We Know It from a script written by Ian Deitchman and Kristin Rusk Robinson.
Berlanti was given a $38 million budget and pretty much told the critics to sit down after it brought home nearly $106 million at the box office.
Katherine Heigl’s Hollywood roller coaster has been well documented. After starting off as a young model, Heigl made her move to feature films as a 14-year-old in That Night. She followed that up with King of the Hill, My Father the Hero, and Under Siege 2: Dark Territory.
In today’s movie-making landscape, Katie (the name she now prefers) would be hailed a hero rather than a pariah. She would be labeled ambitious instead of difficult. Back then, though, Heigl found herself virtually blacklisted in Hollywood based on the perception she was hard to work with.
It started when she called out the makers of her hit film Knocked Up in which she co-starred with Seth Rogen. In a 2007 interview with Vanity Fair, she said of the Judd Apatow written and directed film, “It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys. It exaggerated the characters, and I had a hard time with it on some days.”
“I’m playing such a bitch; why is she being such a killjoy?” Heigl continued. “Why is this how you’re portraying women? Ninety-eight percent of the time, it was an amazing experience, but it was hard for me to love the movie.”
To make matters worse, the following year Katherine Heigl was nominated for an Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama in Grey’s Anatomy. When Heigl decided to pull her name from Emmy consideration, it was looked at as taking a swing at the producers for cutting back her role on the hit series.
“I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination, and in an effort to maintain the integrity of the academy organization, I withdrew my name from contention,” her statement read at the time. “In addition, I did not want to potentially take away an opportunity from an actress who was given such materials.”
Statement or not, her roles became less and less while the scrutiny in which she lived became larger and larger. Katherine Heigl acknowledges that she, perhaps, spoke out a bit too much early on. “I may have said a couple of things you didn’t like, but then that escalated to ‘she’s ungrateful,’ then that escalated to ‘she’s difficult,’ and that escalated to ‘she’s unprofessional,'” she said. “What is your definition of difficult? Somebody with an opinion that you don’t like? Now, I’m 42, and that shit pisses me off.”
She tried apologies, but to her, it seemed to make things worse. “At the time, I was just quickly told to shut the fuck up. The more I said I was sorry, the more they wanted it,” Heigl continued. “The more terrified and scared I was of doing something wrong, the more I came across like I had really done something horribly wrong.”
As Grey’s Anatomy ended for her in 2010, the feature film roles were also drying up. This caused Heigl to have somewhat of a breakdown, scaring her family and friends. “I regret deeply that I scared them like that,” she said via Buzzfeed News, “but I just couldn’t control it. I had no tools.”
But she knew she was in trouble, so she asked her mother and husband (singer Josh Kelly) for help. “I asked my mom and my husband to find me somewhere to go that could help me because I felt like I would rather be dead,” she continued via CNN News. “I didn’t realize how much anxiety I was living with until I got so bad that I had to really seek help. You can do a lot of inner soul work, but I’m a big fan of Zoloft.”
It took her some time, but Katherine Heigl finally realized “that ambition is not a dirty word.” Whether it’s because of today’s landscape or not, Heigl’s “ambition” is now looked at as a positive.
Katherine Heigl has returned to the world of television. It began in 2014 with State of Affairs and has continued on in series such as Doubt, Suits, and Our House. Even though Heigl looks back on her time on Grey’s Anatomy as a dark period in her life, she’ll “never say never” about an eventual return to the series, if asked.
For now, Katherine Heigl can be seen on the series Firefly Lane. She has a couple of future projects lined up and who knows, if Grey’s Anatomy continues to run, we may even see her back as Izzie.
If you’re looking for one of Katherine Heigl’s better rom coms, had on over to Netflix and dial-up Life As We Know It.