Heigl's departure from the show in 2010 came after several tumultuous seasons, including withdrawing her name from Emmy consideration in 2008 after she found the material she was being given lacking. As Pompeo told the Post, "Hurt feelings, combined with instant success and huge paychecks started things spinning out of control."
She continued, "When Katie left, it was tough. You could understand why she wanted to go — when you're offered $12 million a movie and you're only 26. But Katie's problem is that she should not have renewed her contract. She re-upped, took a big raise and then tried to get off the show. And then her movie career did not take off."
In 2012, Heigl commented that she'd be interested in returning to the series to see what had become of her character, Izzie Stevens. However, series creator Shonda Rhimes dismissed the idea that Heigl would be coming back on the show anytime soon.
Meanwhile, Pompeo revealed that the original plan was to have her character, Meredith Grey, have a romance with Isaiah Washington's character. However, Pompeo stated she didn't want that storyline and instead pushed to have her character enter a romance with
"I think that once Isaiah did not get the role, it backfired," Pompeo said.
Washington's gay slur against cast member T.R. Knight landed the actor in a heap of controversy and eventually led to his contract not being renewed for the show's fourth season.