Grey’s Anatomy star Katherine Heigl has opened up about living with “severe anxiety” following her exit from the medical drama in 2010.

Heigl, who played Dr Izzie Stevens for five years, reflected on her experience of working on the series, admitting that she regrets being portrayed as “ungrateful” and “difficult” during her time on Grey’s.

In an interview with The Washington Post, the actress said that when she looks back on the way the media reported her sudden exit from the show, she feels “pissed off”.

“I may have said a couple of things you didn’t like, but then that escalated to ‘She’s ungrateful’, then that escalated to ‘She’s difficult’, and that escalated to ‘She’s unprofessional’,” Heigl said.

“What is your definition of difficult? Somebody with an opinion that you don’t like? Now, I’m 42, and that shit pisses me off.”

The fallout from her departure as Izzie Stevens had a profound effect on her mental health, as Katherine explained: “I asked my mom and my husband to find me somewhere to go that could help me because I felt like I would rather be dead.

“I didn’t realise how much anxiety I was living with until I got so bad that I had to really seek help. You can do a lot of inner soul work, but I’m a big fan of [anti-depressant] Zoloft.”

Speaking earlier this week, Katherine responded to calls from Grey’s fans for her character to return, saying that she’s “super focused” on her upcoming Netflix series Firefly Lane for the time being.

“I would never say never but it’s not likely,” she said.