Katherine Heigl has set the record straight on why she left Grey's Anatomy saying she reached an agreement with producers to leave the show as she wanted to focus more on family life.

Heigl played Dr Izzie Stevens on the hit medical drama for its first six seasons and rumours circulated that her sudden departure was due to her one day just not showing up for work.

Rumours of feuds with co-stars and show creator Shonda Rhimes were rife and stories that Heigl was "difficult to work with" made headlines.

Addressing the controversy around her leaving the show in 2010, Heigl told the Daily Telegraph that her life reached a turning point after she became a mother. She has three children with her husband Josh Kelley.

"It changed my desire to work full-time. I went on family leave and just got to be a [mother], and it changed my whole perspective. That was really the turning point," she said.

"So before I was due back, I spoke again to Shonda about wanting to leave. Then I waited at home until I was given the formal OK that I was off the show.

"The rumours that I refused to return were totally untrue."

Heigl revealed that there were attempts made to help her balance work and her home life and that she "kind of wanted to do both" but "there wasn’t a great way to compromise the work schedule that didn’t negatively affect the crew or the cast."

Heigl was recently seen in the Netflix adaptation of Firefly Lane, which will return for a second season next year.