"My own mother told me I didn't have a shot in hell of winning tonight," joked actress Katherine Heigl in 2007 as she collected her first Emmy for her portrayal of Dr Izzy Stevens in medical drama Grey's Anatomy. Seems like her mum was being overly cautious. After Katherine took home that night's best supporting actress trophy her career went from strength to strength as she parlayed small screen success into a series of high profile movie roles.
Born in Washington on November 24, 1978, to financial executive Paul Heigl and his personal manager wife Nancy, Katherine was the youngest of four children of Swiss-German and Irish ancestry. She spent most of her childhood in Connecticut, where the family had settled. It was there that tragedy struck in 1986, when her older brother Jason died after being involved in a car accident. In the wake of his loss the Heigl family turned to the Mormon Church.
Katherine's all-American beauty was apparent from an early age and she was just nine when she was offered modelling work after an aunt sent photos of her to a local agency. Her big screen debut came in 1992 flick , which was followed by My Father The Hero, Under Siege 2, The Tempest and .
In 1999, she landed her first high-profile part when she signed up to play Isabel Evans in sci-fi TV drama Roswell. More work flowed in, including parts in Ground Zero and Valentine, before she secured her best known TV role, that of Dr Isobel 'Izzy' Stevens on hit medical drama, Grey's Anatomy.
Two years down the line, picking up her Emmy for Grey's Anatomy, a stunned Katherine paid tribute to her manager mother, to whom she is very close. "This is because of you," she told Nancy. "I wouldn't want to be here without you."
Her portrayal of Izzy put Katherine firmly on the movie industry radar and led to her being offered a role opposite Seth Rogan in Knocked Up. That comedy turn was followed by another, 27 Dresses, in which she starred as a nuptially challenged bridesmaid opposite James Marsden.
In real life Katherine is wed to singer Josh Kelley, with whom she tied the knot in Utah on December 23, 2007. The California-based couple met when she appeared in the video for his 2005 single, Only You, and they became engaged the following year. "From early on in the relationship I felt I could really trust and feel safe with him, and feel loved by and laugh and laugh and laugh with him," she says.