He said there was “hope” in his colleagues’ minds that Heigl would one day take over the role. “Katie later said she might come back to the show to finish things off a few years later, but that never happened,” Wilding continued.
But another former “Grey’s” writer, Jenna Bans, said in the book that the decision not to kill Izzie was a strictly narrative choice of Creator and then-showrunner Shonda Rhimes. Bans said she remembered the decision because “Shonda felt like it was more of an unexpected path.”
Longtime fans will remember that Izzie survived cancer in season six only to then be fired from Seattle’s Grace-Mercy West for an error for which she blamed her husband Alex Karev (Justin Chambers).
Izzie married Alex in season five of “Grey’s Anatomy” though she thought she was dying. She only makes sporadic appearances in season six and eventually serves up Alex’s divorce papers.
The end does not offer much closure, however Heigl told Entertainment Weekly in her 2010 exit interview that the character’s sudden departure “felt like the right thing to do” because she felt that continuing to show up in Seattle and then leaving again was “manipulative” to the audience.
In season 16, ten seasons after its original release, we learn that Izzie (off-screen) raises Alex’s twins in Kansas. She used the embryos she had frozen while she had cancer to get pregnant.
When Chambers left the show in the season 16 episode titled “Leave a Light On,” his character Alex points out that he went to Kansas to be with Izzie and the kids. Heigl does not appear in that episode.
“How to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey’s Anatomy” gives the reader a new insight into the most surprising character releases. It is now available.