Ellen Pompeo is speaking out in defense of her onetime Grey’s Anatomy co-star Katherine Heigl.
Pompeo’s podcast Tell Me With Ellen Pompeo found the Meredith Grey actress addressing Heigl’s criticism of the long hours on the ABC drama several years ago.
“I remember Heigl said something on a talk show about the insane hours we were working. She was 100 percent right,” Pompeo said to Kate Walsh, her guest on the podcast.
“Had she said that today, she’d be a complete hero. But she [was] ahead of her time. She made a statement about our crazy hours, and of course, let’s slam a woman and call her ungrateful.”
“When the truth is, she’s 100 percent honest, and it’s absolutely correct what she said, and she was f*cking ballsy for saying it, and she was telling the truth, she wasn’t lying.”
The comments are in response to an interview with Heigl in 2009 during an appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman.
At the time, Heigl explained that it was “cruel” and “mean” that she and her co-stars worked 17-hour days to make episodes of the hit series.
“I’m going to keep saying this cuz’ I hope it embarrasses them,” she said of production at the time.
There was an immediate backlash leveled at Heigl, with the star opening up about it publicly last year while supporting an IATSE strike.
The star said she “got her ass kicked” for speaking out.
“Some of you may remember over 10 years ago I was very vocal about the absurdity of the working hours crews and actors were being forced into by production,” Heigl wrote on Instagram.
“Even Diane Sawyer interviewed me and not so kindly informed me ‘no one feels sorry for you.’ I very publicly and for many years after got my ass kicked for speaking up.”
“We are making entertainment. We are not solving world hunger or curing cancer.”
“We are telling stories. When production plows into hour 14 and beyond they are asking our crews to drive themselves home bone tired.”
Heigl exited Grey’s Anatomy in 2010.
Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.