Page last updated at 10:29 GMT, Thursday, 25 March 2010

Katherine Heigl confirms Grey's Anatomy departure

Katherine Heigl
Heigl has starred as Dr Izzie Stevens for six years

Actress Katherine Heigl has confirmed she has left US medical drama Grey's Anatomy after six years.

The 31-year-old told Entertainment Weekly she asked to be released from her contract 18 months early due to her new role as mother to an adopted child.

ABC said Heigl was ending her run as Dr Izzie Stevens by "mutual agreement".

The TV network confirmed she would not be returning to the show for the rest of the series, meaning her final appearance aired in the US in January.

Shocking season finale

"I am done - we just finalised our agreement," Heigl said.

"Everyone had been working really hard to find an amicable and gracious way of letting go and moving on. It's sad but it's what I wanted."

"I started a family and it changed everything for me. It changed my desire to work full-time," she added.

The actress took three months maternity leave earlier this year after adopting 16-month-old daughter Naleigh from South Korea with husband Josh Kelley last year.

She was scheduled to return to work at the beginning on March, but decided to quit the show instead.

In a statement, ABC Studios said: "By mutual agreement, Katherine Heigl has ended her successful run as Dr. Isobel Stevens.

"The studio wishes her well. Everyone at Grey's Anatomy is now focused on delivering a shocking season finale and a great show for seasons to come."

Heigl previously clashed with ABC after she complained over long working hours and that her role had been diminished.

The actress launched a successful movie career during her tenure on Grey's Anatomy, including box office hits Knocked Up and The Ugly Truth.

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Philadelphia Inquirer Katherine Heigl checks out of `Grey's Anatomy' - 13 hrs ago
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