Is There a 'Grey's Anatomy' Curse?

By Isia Jasiewicz

October 2006: "Isaiah-gate." Isaiah Washington, who played cardiovascular surgeon Preston Burke, caused quite the media splash when he reportedly called costar T. R. Knight (Dr. George O'Malley) a "faggot." Knight publicly came out as a gay man following the news of Washington's slur. Washington initially denied using the word, but after being criticized by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and by ABC network executives, Washington checked himself into a treatment facility to undergo a psychological assessment (call it "homophobe rehab"). Katherine Heigl, of course, took it upon herself to noisily defend her buddy T.R. and complain about Isaiah whenever given the chance.

January 2007: Washington drops the f-bomb, again. After the show won best drama at the Golden Globes, Washington stepped up to the microphone and said, "No, I did not call T.R. a faggot." Umm ... you just did. Again. It's a surprise Heigl didn't publicly wash his mouth with soap, though she did keep complaining, even after what happened next.

February 2008: Eric Dane has cancer! Or not. After OK! magazine splashed the words "My Fight Against Cancer" over the actor's photo on its cover, Dane issued a statement saying that he did not, in fact, have skin cancer, as the magazine had claimed. Dane's rep told Us Weekly that the magazine sensationalized the fact that the actor had had some skin tissues on his lip removed. Dane was said to be considering legal action against OK!, though no suit has been filed to date.

May 2008: Washington's ghost just won't go away. An image of the actor appeared in a Grey's episode titled "The Becoming," in which Seattle Grace employees passed around copies of a news article, replete with head shot, announcing that Preston Burke had won a major medical award. Washington immediately cried foul: his attorney, Peter Nelson, sent notices to ABC and SAG claiming that the image use was unlawful.

July 2008: Heigl's diva act reaches a new low. Heigl removed herself from Emmy nominations, publicly stating that she "did not feel [she] had been given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination." Immediately, rumors erupted that tensions between Heigl and the show's producers were high, and tabloids prophesied Izzie Stevens's impending doom. Though speculation that Heigl might leave the show has been a mainstay of Grey's gossip for basically forever, there have been no official announcements of her departure yet─though her character is currently suffering from brain cancer, which could always turn fatal.

November 2008: Another firing leads to more homophobia complaints, this time against the show's producers. Actress Brooke Smith, who had played Dr. Erica Hahn, a lesbian love interest for Dr. Calliope Torres (Sara Ramirez), was abruptly kicked off the show midseason. Kristin Dos Santos of E! Online pointed the finger at ABC execs, claiming that Smith had been fired in an attempt to "de-gay" the show. Series creator Shonda Rhimes issued a statement saying that "Smith was obviously not fired for playing a lesbian." Evidently not: in January 2009 the show signed on Jessica Capshaw as Dr. Arizona Robbins, another lesbian character.

June 2009: T. R. Knight calls it quits. After season five of the show ended with George's life hanging in the balance, Knight confirmed that he would indeed not be returning to Seattle Grace this fall. Naturally, speculation that Knight was still hurting from "Isaiah-gate" ensued, though Knight insisted that he's leaving because of a "breakdown in communication" between himself and Rhimes regarding the future of his character.

August 2009: McSteamy McSextape revealed. The latest Grey's scandal again concerns the hottie who plays Dr. Mark Sloan, a.k.a. Dr. McSteamy. Yesterday, news broke that Dane had filmed a sex tape with his wife, actress Rebecca Gayheart, and Kari Ann Peniche, the former Miss Teen USA contestant who lost her 2002 title after posing for Playboy. Dane's attorney immediately issued a clarifying statement: it's not a sex tape, just a naked tape. "Although the participants are nude, the tape is not a 'sex tape,' " he stated. The video apparently reveals the three lounging around naked and bathing in a Jacuzzi while discussing what their porn names might be. We have to wonder: does Dane's include the phrase "McSteamy"?