‘Grey’s Anatomy’ star loving small town life, says it’s better for her kids: ‘Easier to keep my finger on the pulse’

Having tried it in a small town, one actress dished on the need “to escape” Hollywood and the benefits of raising her kids where it’s “easier to keep my finger on the pulse.”

(Video: NBC News)

Known for romantic comedies like “Knocked Up,” “27 Dresses” and “The Ugly Truth,” as well as her time on the medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy,” Katherine Heigl’s career successes appeared not to interfere with efforts to raise her kids in a healthy environment.

Thursday, the 44-year-old actress sat down with Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager of “TODAY” and explained how her own experiences trying to make it in the entertainment industry drove her to make different choices for her three children with musician husband Josh Kelley.

“I think some people are mountain people and some people are beach people. I’m a mountain person and have always been kind of that way,” Heigl explained. “And my mom realized — ’cause we went out to LA together when I was 17 and hustled and hustled and hustled for years, right? And I think she realized at a certain point that I needed somewhere to escape to that could just clear my head and ground me.”

“So we started trying to find, and dreaming about, and trying to find that perfect place. And we found Utah, and then I started making enough money to be able to afford to do that,” she went on.

The star of television and cinema noted that the move began as a getaway that became increasingly more permanent and said, “We built these houses in Utah that we expected to be kind of more vacation homes, or when I could get away from the hustle and all the work. And we just started spending more and more and more time there. And it was my husband who finally made it his primary residence on his like driver’s license and stuff. And we went, ‘Yeah, I think this is our primary residence. We live here now.'”

Of her children, two adopted daughters and a son of their own, Heigl expressed, “I think my children sometimes wish they were in more of a hubbuby exciting city. But I said to them recently, ‘Listen, I understand that you are sacrificing that in some ways but I still think it was the right choice for us as a family, because I am more centered and aware of what’s going on in your life. It’s a smaller town, I know who your friends are, I know who you are spending time with, I know what’s up with school. It’s just easier to keep my finger on the pulse.'”

The move away from Tinsel Town was hardly unique as celebrities and others have increasingly been making an exodus out of the greater Los Angeles area and California in its entirety. Earlier this year it was reported that actor and long-time Golden State resident Scott Baio had pulled the plug “After 45 years,” citing the unaddressed homelessness crisis.

Likewise, others like Joe Rogan and Katy Perry had abandoned the state with the former taking his podcast to Texas and the latter moving to Kentucky where she was reminded “that Hollywood is not America.”

Heigl also reflected on the importance of her own mother’s support in her career and the pivotal role it played throughout her life, “My mom literally gave up every other part of her life to come and support me and be my hammer.”


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