Hollywood's It Girl
Although Katherine hopes she's here to stay, being at the forefront of Hollywood's radar has its benefits. "Now that success has come, the opportunities are there, which is so huge," Katherine says. "I mean, there are these roles that they want me to play that I would have had to beat my head against a wall to get only a year ago or two years ago."
In the hit romantic comedy 27 Dresses, Katherine plays Jane, a woman who's always the bridesmaid, never the bride. In reality, Katherine says she has worn far fewer taffeta dresses than her character. "I've only had to do it twice, thank God," Katherine says. "I did it just recently for my sister who got married in October, and it's a job. It's an intense job to make sure that this person has the best day of their life, that none of the problems fall on their shoulders."
Since her big break on Grey's Anatomy, Katherine says her life was suddenly filled with many rewarding roles and life events. "I dreamed about these moments, and I think I hoped I would have them, but you don't know. So when the lucky break hits, it's like being Cinderella and hopefully midnight doesn't come."
Although many people would consider Katherine to be lucky, Oprah thinks Katherine should give herself more credit. "I think luck is the moment of preparation, all the years of preparation, meeting the moment of opportunity," Oprah says. Katherine agrees and thinks the word "grace" is a better word to describe her success. "I think that I've worked hard. I've tried to grow not only as a person but as an actor," she says. "I've tried to prepare myself to be in the right place and the right time."
Even Katherine's mother and manager, Nancy, didn't see this win coming. In her acceptance speech, Katherine said, "My own mother told me I didn't have a shot in hell of winning tonight, so I really don't have anything prepared, but she's a really big supporter. She does love me."
With so many wonderful actresses nominated in her category, Nancy says she wanted Katherine to be prepared for disappointment. "Obviously, I was wrong," she says.
Though she has a golden statuette as proof, Katherine says she still can't believe she won. "It was sort of the most unbelievable night of my life," she says. "It felt so surreal, and I didn't feel quite in my own body. I kept wishing that I could have those 10 seconds back when they called my name to just feel that moment again."
Other than that, Katherine says she's still the same girl...though she did lose a few pounds for her wedding day. "I've never been so paranoid about my weight in my life," she says. "There's something about a wedding dress. I never felt that way on the red carpet. I wear my Spanx, and I want to look my best, and I do what I've got to do, but for some reason that dress just freaked me out."
Katherine married her real-life leading man, singer Josh Kelley, on December 23, 2007. "He's a phenomenal, phenomenal man. I've never met a man like him, and I don't know if I ever will again, " she says. "He's unbelievably fun, he loves everybody and everybody loves him. He is charming beyond belief, he is sexy and talented. But he's so kind and he's so compassionate. He's so easy with me—and I'm not perfect."
Before the wedding, Katherine says she and Josh made the decision not to live together until after exchanging vows. Though, with Josh's touring schedule and her busy film and television career, the married pair still doesn't get to spend as much time together as they'd like. "He and I had never, until about November of this year, spent more than two weeks at a time together," she says.
"I'm looking forward to that day where we have, like, a month just not working, just to hang out and get sick of each other," Katherine jokes. "That would be great."
In the fall of 2007, things were different. The Hollywood writers' strike halted production of the show halfway through season four. After three months away from the Seattle Grace set, Katherine says she missed the show and her character, Dr. Isobel Stevens. "I miss Izzie," she says.
Katherine says her close friend and castmate T.R. Knight organized a fundraiser for the Grey's Anatomy crew during the strike. "T.R.'s going to make us all pay to go so that we can donate some money to the crews and stuff, because [the strike has] been much longer I think than anybody expected," she says.
In February 2008, the writers' strike ended and production resumed on the Grey's set.
Justin Chambers, the actor who plays Katherine's former flame Dr. Alex Karev on the show, shares what it's like to act alongside this "it" girl. "Katherine Heigl, you rock," he says. "You are a gifted actress, and I am very happy that we get to work together."
Katherine may be blessed with movie-star looks, but according to Justin, she's just as beautiful on the inside. "I laugh thinking about her," he says. "She burps like a truck driver, for such a lovely lady, which is kind of cool. And she always says, 'Excuse me' after she burps, which is even cooler. She's got a big, big heart, and she's very talented. I learn from watching her."
T.R. Knight isn't just Katherine's co-star—he's such a close friend, Josh asked him to be a groomsman in their wedding. As a special surprise, T.R. penned a song for his friend, Katie.
Watch T.R.'s musical tribute to Katherine.
In the song, T.R. sings, "It's all about how you're the awesomest of dames. And you're a great friend, a friend to the end. You're there without fail. We're like Oprah and Gayle!"