Isobel "Izzie" Katherine Stevens is a fictional character from the medical drama television series Grey's Anatomy, which airs on ABC in the United States. The character is portrayed by actress Katherine Heigl, and was created by series producer Shonda Rhimes. Izzie works at the fictional Seattle Grace Hospital as a surgical intern and later resident, with storylines focusing on her relationships with fellow staff members Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh), George O'Malley (T.R. Knight) and Alex Karev (Justin Chambers). She comes to doubt her career in medicine after facilitating in the death of her fiancé Denny Duquette (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), but returns to the surgical program after donating her $8.7 million inheritance to build a free clinic attached to the hospital. Heigl was critical of the character's development during the show's fourth season, particularly her romance with George. She declined to put herself forward for the 2008 Emmy Awards, citing insufficient material in the role. After media speculation that Izzie would be killed off in the fifth season, the character was diagnosed on-screen with metastatic melanoma (Stage IV). She marries Alex in the show's one-hundredth episode, and afterwards, her tumor is successfully removed. Izzie makes her final appearance in the sixth season, leaving Seattle after Alex ends their relationship. Heigl requested to be released from her contract 18 months early, in order to spend more time with her family. However, in August 2010 it was confirmed that the character's story arc is not over yet and there will be a proper closure to her relationship with Alex in season seven.
Izzie appears from the first episode of Grey's Anatomy, meeting fellow interns Meredith Grey, Cristina Yang, George O'Malley and Alex Karev. She and George move in with Meredith and become best friends. Izzie's boyfriend, hockey player Hank (Jonathan Scarfe), struggles to accept her new role as a doctor, and the two break up. Izzie is hurt when Alex exposes her past as a lingerie model. However, the two later go on to begin a friendship and then a romance. Alex experiences sexual dysfunction with Izzie and cheats on her with nurse Olivia Harper (Sarah Utterback). When Izzie finds out, she breaks up with him, though they briefly reunite following a bomb scare at the hospital. Izzie falls in love with cardiothoracic patient Denny Duquette, and the two become engaged. When Denny's condition deteriorates, Izzie deliberately worsens his health further by cutting his LVAD wire to move him up the donor register. Although Denny receives a new heart, he has a stroke hours later and dies. Izzie is the sole beneficiary of Denny's will, inheriting $8.7 million. She uses the money to open a free clinic at the hospital: the Denny Duquette Memorial Clinic.
Izzie disapproves of George's relationship with and later marriage to orthopedic resident Callie Torres (Sara Ramírez). She and George sleep together, and attempt to keep their liaison a secret. George is the only person aware that Izzie gave birth to a daughter at the age of 16; ultimately the child was given up for adoption. He also supports Izzie when her daughter Hannah (Liv Hutchings), diagnosed with leukemia, arrives at Seattle Grace Hospital in need of a bone marrow transplant from Izzie. Izzie's feelings for George grow, and she reveals that she has fallen in love with him. When Callie discovers George has been unfaithful, the two separate, and George and Izzie embark on a short-lived relationship, only to discover there is no real chemistry between them.
Izzie supports Alex when he discovers his new girlfriend has psychiatric problems, and convinces him to have her committed. She is also handed primary responsibility for the clinic, as Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson), the resident in charge, cuts back on her responsibilities. Izzie and Alex go on to rekindle their relationship, though Izzie is concerned when she begins hallucinating about Denny. She discovers she has metastatic melanoma (Stage IV) which has spread to her liver, skin, and brain, causing the hallucinations. Her survival chances are estimated at only 5%. She is admitted to Seattle Grace as a patient, and Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) successfully removes a tumor from her brain. Izzie spends her time in the hospital planning Meredith and Derek's wedding, but when her condition worsens and Derek discovers a second tumor in her brain, they give the ceremony to Izzie and Alex, who marry in front of all their friends. The procedure to remove the second tumor from Izzie's brain causes her to lose her short-term memory, and although she soon regains it, she flatlines moments later. The fifth season ended with her friends ignoring her DNR order and attempting to resuscitate her, transposed with images of Izzie in an elevator encountering George, who has been in an accident and is also currently flatlining. Though George dies, Izzie is resuscitated and recovers enough to return to work.
Izzie makes a treatment error that endangers the life of a patient, and is fired from the hospital's surgical program. Believing Alex is partially to blame, she writes him a Dear John letter and leaves. Izzie later learns that Alex was not responsible for her losing her job, and returns to make amends with him, but Meredith informs her that Alex is moving on. Alex officially breaks up with Izzie, telling her that he loves her but deserves better. Izzie is then seen packing up all her stuff and telling Meredith she has to leave Seattle to start over. Several episodes later, Alex informs Meredith that Izzie sent divorce papers. In the episode "How Insensitive", Alex is seen signing the divorce papers, legally ending their marriage. She isn't mentioned until the finale of the 6th season where Alex, almost dying, asks for her. He thinks Lexie is her and tells her that he's sorry and to never leave him again, which shows that he still loves her after all of it.
Izzie will eventually have a proper closure to her relationship with Alex.
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