Knocking the chatter. Katherine Heigl continued her self-reflection journey on The Howard Stern Show on Wednesday, April 20, by addressing her controversial 2008 comments about Knocked Up — and the subsequent fallout with costar Seth Rogen and director Judd Apatow.
"I know, I always get into it … just stick my foot in [my mouth]," Heigl, 37, cracked to the SiriusXM host. "I liked the movie a lot. I just didn't like me." (Heigl portrayed a TV personality who gets knocked up by a pot-adoring, directionless man played by Rogen.) "She was kind of like, she was so judgmental and kind of uptight and controlling and all these things and I really went with it while we were doing it, and a lot of it — Judd allows everyone to be very free and improvise and whatever — and afterwards I was like, 'Why is that where I went with this? What an a–hole she is!'"
That frustration with her character led Heigl to criticize the raunchy and wildly successful comedy in her 2008 Vanity Fair cover story. At the time, Heigl described the flick as "a little sexist," and added: "It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys. It exaggerated the characters, and I had a hard time with it, on some days. I'm playing such a bitch; why is she being such a killjoy? Why is this how you're portraying women? Ninety-eight percent of the time it was an amazing experience, but it was hard for me to love the movie." Her castmates were not pleased with the outcome of the piece.
"Again, it was one of those situations, it was a huge opportunity for me," Heigl said Wednesday. "I was being interviewed for Vanity Fair. Like, I was on the cover of Vanity Fair, it was a huge big deal for me! And the journalist [Norman Jean Roy] was really, really lovely. I don't mean to imply on any level that she trapped me … she just said, 'You know a lot of women felt that it was a little sexist,' so then I felt obligated to answer that and so I tried in my very sort of ungracious way to answer why I felt that it maybe was a little. If you read the whole quote, I'm just saying that can be the nature of broad comedy … but they just took the sexist thing out."
Stern implied that Heigl broke a golden rule in Hollywood — "you don't criticize the movie that's coming out" — and Heigl agreed she was in the wrong. "No. That was dumb, yep," she said of her behavior. The actress further acknowledged that she should've called Rogen and Apatow to apologize, but she didn't.
"I did it publicly, instead, and kind of tried to say, look, 'This was not what I meant and this was an incredible experience for me and they were incredibly good to me on this movie, so I did not mean to s–t on them at all,'" Heigl said of her experience. "I've thought about like, writing a note. I feel embarrassed. I don't want it to feel insincere on any level."
The actress told Stern on Wednesday that she would like to work with Rogen again, though he may not feel the same. "I ran into him at a restaurant and I didn't quite realize that it was as serious as it was … I walked up like, 'Hey, guys!'" she recalled. "And they were like very, like, [really cold] and I was like, 'Oh, you're really mad, I didn't realize that it was that bad … I get it."
Rogen, 34, expressed his outrage to Stern back in 2009, saying: "We read that and thought, 'Oh, well, that's, uhhh, I don't know what to make of that.' And then you're like, 'Well, at some point, I'm gonna get a call like, 'Sorry, I was tired,' and then the call just never [came]."
Heigl acknowledged her past mistakes on Wednesday, and owned up to many offenses. "I absolutely owe anyone an apology I unwittingly offended or disrespected," she said, later concluding: "I get it. It was an immature dumbass moment."