Sec­ond chance:

Re­put­edly “dif­fi­cult” Suits star Kather­ine Heigl is keep­ing the drama on-screen.

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - CONTENTS - MICHELE MANELIS

IT’S dif­fi­cult to name a more out­spo­ken, ballsy Hol­ly­wood A-lister than Kather­ine Heigl.

Case in point: af­ter she and hus­band Josh Kel­ley binge­watched Suits, she picked up the phone and called its showrun­ner Aaron Korsh.

Af­ter speak­ing with the Emmy-win­ning, ex-Grey’s

Anatomy ac­tress, Korsh promptly cre­ated her a role as Sa­man­tha Wheeler, the new­est lawyer to join sea­son eight of the le­gal drama.

As Heigl says: “I was com­ing into the show as a mas­sive fan-girl and wasn’t think­ing about the pres­sure on me un­til I got there. And then I re­alised, ‘I re­ally hope I don’t mess up my favourite show by be­ing in it!’”

Even those with a pass­ing in­ter­est in the se­ries will know there have been some ma­jor changes to per­son­nel on the pop­u­lar drama.

There was the de­par­ture of Pa­trick J. Adams, who played le­gal sa­vant Mike Ross; but it was the exit of his on-screen wife, played by Meghan Markle, which drew big­ger head­lines – leav­ing as she did to marry Prince Harry and as­sume her new role as the first ever Duchess of Sus­sex.

Heigl says she was dis­ap­pointed not to have met Markle.

“Like ev­ery­one else, I feel like I know her as Rachel [Zane], who I’ve been watch­ing on Suits for the past seven years,” she says.

“So, it’s crazy to now see her in this new role as roy­alty.” Re­cur­ring stars Dulé Hill

(The West Wing) and Amanda Schull (Pretty Lit­tle Liars) have also been pro­moted to se­ries reg­u­lars.

Heigl has long been one of Hol­ly­wood’s most po­lar­is­ing fig­ures, de­scribed and dis­missed as ‘dif­fi­cult’. It’s a tag which of­ten fol­lows women who speak their mind, though some of Heigl’s ac­tions have also been poorly re­ceived.

She fa­mously with­drew her­self from Emmy award con­tention in 2008 be­cause she thought the writ­ing ma­te­rial for her char­ac­ter, Izzie Stevens in Grey’s “didn’t war­rant an Emmy nom­i­na­tion.”

Ad­di­tion­ally, she made dis­parag­ing com­ments about her 2007 break­out hit

Knocked Up, in which she starred op­po­site Seth Ro­gen.

So does she re­gret any of those com­ments which proved rather hurt­ful to her co-stars, writ­ers and direc­tors?

“My ca­reer took off in my 20s and when it first took off, I’m not go­ing to deny there was some ar­ro­gance,” she says. “I was feel­ing pretty un­touch­able and pretty on top of the world. I felt like I had worked re­ally hard to get there, so I was re­ally gonna rel­ish it. And now, some­times I’ll look at magazine cov­ers from that

time and be, ‘Girl, take it down a notch!’”

Heigl at­tended ther­apy ses­sions af­ter the neg­a­tive fall­out from the Emmy awards, which proved to be too trau­matic for her to han­dle on her own.

“There’s some of that feel­ing that I wish in a way I had known bet­ter,” she says. “But like a mother to your younger self, I just have so much more for­give­ness for that girl now than I did a cou­ple of years ago. I was re­ally mad at her for a long time and now I feel that, ‘It’s all right girl’.”

She chuck­les, and adds, “ev­ery­body acts like an ass­hole in their 20s.”

Heigl has found firmer foun­da­tions in her pri­vate life, af­ter mar­ry­ing mu­si­cian Kel­ley in 2007. Two years later, they adopted a daugh­ter, Nancy Leigh, from South Korea (where Heigl’s adop­tive sis­ter was born); and in 2012 they adopted a sec­ond daugh­ter, Adalaide.

In De­cem­ber 2016, Heigl gave birth to a son, Joshua Bishop.

“My chil­dren have given me per­spec­tive,” she says. “I know what re­ally mat­ters now. My ca­reer has al­ways mat­tered to me. I’ve al­ways been an am­bi­tious per­son and I love what I do, but nothing feels like big stuff any­more un­til your kid’s sick or un­til your kid’s go­ing through some­thing hard and you need to be there for them. That’s the big stuff.”

As far as keep­ing her mar­riage on an even keel, she notes: “Josh will go on a 10-day tour of Europe and I’ll stay home. It’s a jug­gling act for both of us. He’s my best friend, so I get very lonely.”

Heigl will be turn­ing 40 soon, but seems in no rush to make the mile­stone.

“Not for another few months!” she laughs. “You know, if it weren’t for this busi­ness, I’d find age­ing a fas­ci­nat­ing sort of science ex­per­i­ment. I prob­a­bly find the best part about age­ing is feel­ing like I have a stronger voice. I keep say­ing to peo­ple, ‘Hey, I’m 39. You can’t tell me what to do. I have earned the right to tell you what I’m go­ing to do!’”

She smiles, adding: “I’m sure I will hit 40 even harder.”

Hol­ly­wood may have to brace it­self come that big day, with Heigl laugh­ing: “That’s right. I will lit­er­ally never lis­ten to another per­son again!”



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