Katherine Heigl Spent Years Hustling In Hollywood. Why The Grey's Anatomy Star Ultimately Left For Utah Instead

 Katherine Heigl on Grey's Anatomy on ABC.
Katherine Heigl on Grey's Anatomy on ABC.
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A number of celebrities have packed it up and moved their lives out of Los Angeles, especially in the past few years since the pandemic. Emily Blunt and John Krasinski, for example, split time between London and New York, as they found that Hollywood can be “suffocating,” and Modern Family actress Ariel Winter moved to Virginia to escape the paparazzi. Finding peace outside of California is a secret Grey’s Anatomy alum Katherine Heigl discovered long ago, and she opened up about why her family moved to Utah after years of hustling in Hollywood.

Katherine Heigl moved to Utah in 2010, after behind-the-scenes issues led to her departure from Grey’s Anatomy. She’s still continued to act, however, most recently starring in the book-to-screen adaptation of Firefly Lane (available with a Netflix subscription), and she recently opened up on TODAY about what inspired the big move. Heigl said:

I think some people are mountain people, and some people are beach people. I’m a mountain person and have always been that way. And my mom realized, because we went out to L.A. together when I was 17 and hustled and hustled and hustled for years, right? And I think she realized at a certain point that I needed somewhere to escape to that could just kind of clear my head and ground me. So we started trying to find, and dreaming about trying to find, that perfect place. And we found Utah, and then I started making enough money to be able to afford to do that.

It turns out the beach isn’t everybody’s idea of a get-away, and Katherine Heigl has always been more at peace in the mountains. The 27 Dresses actress said Utah was a part-time destination for them at first, and it was actually her husband, singer-songwriter Josh Kelley, who took the step to make it their home. She explained:

We built these houses in Utah that we expected to be more kind of vacation homes, or when I could get away from the hustle and all the work. And we just started spending more and more and more time there. And it was my husband who finally made it his primary residence on his driver’s license and stuff. And we went. ‘Yeah, I think this is our primary residence. We live here now.'

I can imagine that was a move that must have been very good for Katherine Heigl’s peace of mind, especially with their three children, Naleigh, Adalaide and Joshua. The actress had spoken about leaving Hollywood before, saying she didn’t know how to raise kids in L.A., and being in Utah gave her a better handle on what activities they’re involved in and who they’re hanging around.

She’s also been open about her what she went through while working on Grey’s Anatomy and how she was operating “at a level of intensity that was not healthy for me,” so it sounds like her escape from L.A. was a move well worth making.

You can see Katherine Heigl on Firefly Lane or old seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, which are both available to stream on Netflix. Or, if you want to relive any specific era of the ABC medical drama, here are some good Grey’s Anatomy starting points.