Katherine Heigl Says She Was 'Afraid' Her Daughter 'Didn't Love' Her Due to Her 'Grey's Anatomy' Work Schedule

The actress went back to work on 'Grey's Anatomy' three days after welcoming Naleigh from South Korea.

Katherine Heigl had an emotional response on The View after seeing past footage of her now-14-year-old daughter, Naleigh. The 44-year-old Firefly Lane actress visited the talk show on Monday with Naleigh in tow and was shown a precious 2012 clip of her daughter running to her on the stage to give her a sweet hug. 

When asked why she was getting emotional, Heigl explained that early in her adopted daughter's life, she feared she had missed out on bonding with her due to her intense work schedule on Grey's Anatomy.

"Naleigh came to us at nine months, and three days later I got on a plane and went to work in Atlanta," Heigl explained of her time on the ABC medical drama. "At the time, becoming a new mother, I was just like, 'I got it. I got it. I can handle this.' They've told us we can have it all. We can have careers and have families and it's all gonna work out." 

She then admitted that she "never saw" her daughter as a baby. 

"I was at work with three triplets who were playing my goddaughter, and I spent more time with them than I did with my new daughter," Heigl emotionally shared. "And she bonded with my husband [Josh Kelley], of course, he was with her. So I was always afraid that I had missed that opportunity to really bond with her and that she didn't love me."

Heigl has been famously vocal about the grueling work schedule on Grey's Anatomy, which she exited in 2010. 

During a 2009 appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman, Heigl, who played Dr. Izzie Stevens, blasted the medical drama for having a "17-hour" workday, which she called "cruel and mean."

Her co-star, Ellen Pompeo, defended her comments earlier this year on an episode of her Tell Me podcast. 

"I remember Heigl said something on a talk show about the insane hours we were working. And she was 100 percent right," Pompeo said. "Had she said that today, she’d be a complete hero."

Heigl and Kelley went on to adopt daughter Adelaide, 10, and Heigl gave birth to son Joshua, 5, in 2016. 

In the April 2021 issue of Parents magazine, Heigl opened up about raising her family outside of the spotlight. 

"The other day, Adalaide came home from school and acted out what she heard from her friends. Like, 'Omigosh, your dad’s music! Your mom’s movies!' She’s like, yeah, I know. My parents are famous, I got it," she said. "And for Naleigh, I think it’s a little bit embarrassing. But the nice thing is that we’ve been a part of this community for 12 years, and our kids get to see us live just like everybody else, away from the hoopla and the paparazzi."