This ‘Lost’ Star Nearly Played Izzie Stevens on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Instead of Katherine Heigl

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Even though Isobel “Izzie” Stevens was fired from Seattle Grace Hospital in the fifth season of Grey’s Anatomy, she remains one of the most beloved characters in the series. Despite her questionable decisions (just to name one, cutting Denny’s LVAD wire), fans had a tough time adjusting to a show where Izzie wasn’t a part of it.

Portrayed by Katherine Heigl, Izzie made her on-screen debut with the original five surgical interns, which included Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh), George O’Malley (T.R Knight) and Alex Karev (Justin Chambers). Though devoted fans probably can't picture anyone else playing the surgical oncologist, there was another actress who almost snagged the role instead of Heigl.

Before joining the cast of ABC’s hit drama Lost, Yunjin Kim could have been sporting a set of hospital scrubs instead of fighting for survival on a mysterious island.

In an exclusive interview with Entertainment Weekly, Kim revealed that she originally auditioned for the role of Izzie. At the time, she was transitioning her acting career from Korea to America. A secured deal with ABC allowed her to audition for some roles in the network’s show lineup.

Lost was one of my first auditions but Grey's Anatomy was my first. I did not audition for Sandra Oh’s character [Cristina], it was for Izzie. And I got a callback,” she explained.

During that time, Kim also auditioned to play Kate Austen on Lost. Although she didn’t get the part, creator and executive producer J.J. Abrams wrote the character, Sun-Hwa Kwon, specifically for her. Yet, Kim still wanted to keep Grey’s Anatomy on the table. But, she eventually changed her mind after making plans to film the pilot for Lost

“My agents were like, ‘Why? You got cast on an amazing show. You should pack up and try to find a place in Hawaii.’ I was like, 'I don't know, I might like Grey’s Anatomy more.’” she added. “I didn't want to put all my eggs in one basket. What if this falls out, you know? I had no guarantee. But anyway, I ended up not going back to the callback.”

In the end, the role went to Heigl, who played the character for six seasons. In 2010, she made her final on-screen appearance as Izzie and left the show.

As the saying goes, everything happens for a reason.

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Assistant Editor, News And Entertainment

Karelle McKay is the Assistant Editor of News and Entertainment at PureWow. Before she started writing about all things pop culture, she was a literal couch potato who loved...