It's no secret that the 36-year-old actress' former Grey's Anatomy
boss Shonda Rhimes was not a big fan of working with her
, and she also memorably created some bad blood with her Knocked Up
co-star Seth Rogen and producer Judd Apatow when she criticized the 2007 film for being "sexist."
But in a new interview with Meredith Vieira to promote her new NBC show State of Affairs, Heigl defends herself when it comes to her well-known reputation of being difficult to work with.
"I'm not. I know I'm not," Heigl says strongly when asked (once again) about reports that she's "rude." "I don't have to think about it. I'm not a rude person. I'm not an unkind or mean person. ... But I will continue to stand up for myself, and I'm never going to stop standing up for my right to be heard, my right to be treated respectfully and professionally in return, my right to draw boundaries."
"I am a strong woman and I'm not going to apologize for that," she stresses. "And I'm not going to on behalf of my daughters ... We should all have the basic human right to say, 'Hey, no, I'm sorry, I'm not comfortable with that,' or, 'I don't like that' or, 'This is not OK for me' without it making me ... I can't say the word, but, a 'B' word."
That being said, Heigl does say she has learned a few things by taking a break from Hollywood.
"At the time when I was sort of mouthing off, and sort of voicing my opinion about whatever, I didn't quite realize how fast it could spread like a wildfire almost, just with the Internet and everything in between," she explains. "So if I am going to [voice my opinion], then I best know what my intention is and be clear about it. And if it's not important enough for me to voice, or if I feel like it's something that should be kept private, then I need to be more thoughtful."
And it's safe to say she'll probably never mend her relationship with Rhimes.
"There are no Heigls in this situation," the acclaimed show runner surprisingly told The Hollywood Reporter in October of her Scandal cast, which includes Kerry Washington, Bellamy Young, Scott Foley and Tony Goldwyn. "I don't put up with bullsh** or nasty people. I don't have time for it."
Heigl's off-screen Grey's Anatomy drama included notoriously announcing that she would be withdrawing her name from the 2008 Emmy ballot because she didn't feel that the writers had given her the content to "warrant an Emmy nomination."
"On some level, it stung," Rhimes told Oprah Winfrey in 2012
about the incident. "But on some level I was not surprised. When people show you who they are, believe them. I carry that with me a lot. It has served me well."
But in August, Heigl insisted to Good Housekeeping
that it was actually her desire to spend more time with her family that led her to quit
the hit ABC show in 2010.
"We [she and husband Josh Kelley] had big dreams of expanding our family, moving to the mountains and having a quieter life," she shared. "Utah is spectacularly beautiful, the people are wonderful and kind, it's an easy commute from L.A. -- and there's no traffic!"