I have long been fascinated by the phenomenon of rude people in show business and how that led to their downfall. It is widely known that you can be an awful and demanding type as long as your movies do well. That explains why Steven Seagal had a career at all and how he crashed so quickly once his films began to stutter. Katherine Heigl is no Seagal – I seriously doubt she goes around kicking stunt men in the testicles just to see if they are wearing cups. Still, she has a rep for being difficult and outspoken.
Heigl’s career hit a rocky point when she called Jude Apatow’s films sexist, which is a fair criticism – except that she said it during a promotional tour of Knocked Up, the hit that made her, Seth Rogen and Apatow all A-list names. She also crashed and burned in spectacular fashion by leaving Grey’s Anatomy mid-season, forcing her character to simply be written out – a move that has angered both Heigl’s peers and her fans. The latter have been punishing her ever since as her film career also started to tank. Earlier this year she was reportedly too broke to fund an independent movie – a far cry from once commanding $15 million per gig.
But it should be said that Heigl’s reputation as being difficult on set appears to be overblown once you discount her notoriously-demanding manager/mother. In fact, it is often mused that Heigl can save her career by firing her mother, but that hasn’t happened yet. Anyway, there are not actually all that many stories about Heigl being a pain on set, at least no more than many other stars.
Still, she has this reputation on her back, one that Heigl has time and again tried to fight against. Most recently she did so in a Facebook Q&A, saying she’s never been intentionally rude:
“I would never, ever actively do so on purpose,” she wrote. “Of course just like any human being I’ve made mistakes and unwittingly or carelessly spoken or acted but I always try to make any wrong right.”
“That doesn’t mean I won’t stand up for myself by drawing boundaries and asking to be treated kindly and respectfully,” she added, “but I don’t do that with any rude or unkind intentions just with the same strength and honesty I think every one of us is entitled to.”
As mentioned, she might not be wrong. Reports of her being a pain on set have not eclipsed that of many other actors and, frankly, she doesn’t even make the top 25 in my unofficial ‘incidents’ collection. That said, the above appears to be her boilerplate approach to defending herself. This is what she said a few months ago:
“I certainly don’t see myself as being difficult. I would never intend to be difficult. I don’t think my mother sees herself as being difficult.
“I think it’s important to everybody to conduct themselves professionally and respectfully and kindly. If I’ve ever disappointed somebody, it was never intentional,”
Heigl is hoping her career will be revived with the upcoming TV show State Of Affairs, which begins to air later this month.
Last Updated: November 5, 2014