The 27-year-old blonde beauty, who plays Dr. Isobel "Izzie" Stevens, said she's still adjusting to the challenges of overnight fame. But she's digging the perks: One acting gig helped Heigl find her fiancé, singer-songwriter Josh Kelley. She was hired to star in his music video, and the two ended up engaged.
Kelley was by Heigl's side when she was feted recently by Cosmopolitan magazine. Editor Kate White hosted an intimate dinner for Heigl to celebrate her appearance on the December issue of Cosmopolitan. The actress' manager mom and TV co-stars T.R. Knight and Kate Walsh were also on hand to toast Heigl's success.
Later, she took time out to talk with The Associated Press about the pressures and pleasures of celebrity.
AP: What's it like to become instantly famous?
Heigl: It's weird. I've been doing this for so long and I always imagined what it might be like to have this success, but you can't really know what it will be like. The most pivotal point was at the "upfronts" (where broadcasters present programs to advertisers) in New York last year. People would come up to me and tell me how much they loved the show, and New Yorkers just don't do that! The excitement for the show was just unbelievable. I've been waiting 15 years for this kind of success and I'm just so grateful and really thrilled. It's definitely overwhelming at times.
AP: Is there a downside?
Heigl: With all the magazines, there's so much access into people's personal lives. You feel watched all the time and it feels like you can't be yourself, like you can't go to the grocery store unless you're wearing a cute outfit and look perfect. But I feel like I'm learning how to live with it and be myself regardless of judgment or criticism. All I really care about are the people I love. It is overwhelming. I think it takes experience.
AP: What's it like to see yourself on the cover of Cosmopolitan?
Heigl: This is huge for me. I've always read Cosmo and loved the covers, the fashion spreads and the sex advice. It feels sort of like an out-of-body experience, like it's happening to someone else.