Katherine Heigl Takes Leave of Absence From Grey's Anatomy

Sep. 2 2009, Updated 8:23 a.m. ET

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Katherine Heigl is getting her cake and eating it too. Weeks after complaining about the long hours on the Grey's Anatomy set, the actress has been granted a five-episode hiatus from the show to shoot the movie Life as We Know It.

Though her absence will be explained on the screen per a source, it will coincide with Ellen Pompeo's temporary departure from the show due to her maternity leave.

The creators are already looking at other casting options given the latest dearth of absences (including T.R. Knight's recent exit). Three new doctors - Nora Zehetner, Robert Baker, and Jesse Williams- have all been added as recurring faces.

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