The 42-year-old actress left the show back in 2010 after six seasons on the medical drama.
In a new excerpt from Lynette Rice‘s book How To Save A Life: The Inside Story Of Grey’s Anatomy, she set the record straight about why she decided to exit the show.
Click inside to read the excerpt…
Katherine shared that there were a number of things contributing to her decision. When she learned that the network was planning to increase the salaries of co-stars Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey, Sandra Oh and Isaiah Washington, she publicly stated she would not be renegotiating her contract.
“In this town, women who don’t just snap and say, ‘Okay, yessir, yes, ma’am’ start to get a reputation for being difficult. I’ve decided it’s not worth it to me to be pushed around so much,” she said.
Things continued to escalate after Katherine withdrew herself from Emmy consideration, which was seen as her taking a shot at series creator Shonda Rhimes.
“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,” she said at the time.
Reflecting on her decision to pull out of the awards show, the actress said that while she didn’t think it was a huge deal at the time, she understands why it generated so much controversy.
“I thought I was doing the right thing. And I wanted to be clear that I wasn’t snubbing the Emmys,” she explained. “The night I won was the highlight of my career. I just was afraid that if I said, ‘No comment,’ it was going to come off like I couldn’t be bothered [to enter the race]. I could have more gracefully said that without going into a private work matter. It was between me and the writers. I ambushed them, and it wasn’t very nice or fair.”
Katherine went on to say that the real reason behind her departure from the show was becoming a first-time mother.
“I started a family, and it changed everything,” she said. “It changed my desire to work full-time. I went on family leave and just got to be a [mom], and it changed my whole perspective… that was really the turning point. So before I was due back, I spoke again to Shonda about wanting to leave. Then I waited at home until I was given the formal okay that I was off the show. The rumors that I refused to return were totally untrue.”
She added that she and Shonda tried to find a solution that would accommodate both parties, but were unable to make it work.
“[Shonda] wanted to try to figure out how I could do both [parenting and Grey’s], and I kind of wanted to do both. There wasn’t a great way to compromise the work schedule that didn’t negatively affect the crew or the cast. It wasn’t feeling fair to them or the show to ask them to bend around my needs,” she said.
However, two anonymous sources shared separate accounts of what happened. According to a former ABC exec, Shonda and the former network president Steve McPherson became “so fed up with it all, they just said, ‘Get her out.’”
Another inside source added, “There were two sides to that story. Katie was just beaten up for having an opinion, for being successful, for not kissing the ring. She became much bigger than Patrick Dempsey, but she didn’t have a penis.”
Katherine says she takes responsibility for some of the media firestorm that ensued after her exit.
“The ‘ungrateful’ thing bothers me the most. And that is my fault,” she said. “I allowed myself to be perceived that way. So much about living life, to me, is about humility and gratitude. And I’ve tried very hard to have those qualities and be that person, and I’m just so disappointed in myself that I allowed it to slip. Of course I’m grateful. How can I not be?”
How To Save A Life: The Inside Story Of Grey’s Anatomy is set to be released on Sept. 28.
Earlier this week, another excerpt from the book went viral after it revealed shocking details about Patrick Dempsey leaving the show. Check it out…