Katherine Heigl seems to be adjusting well to life after Grey’s Anatomy, after leaving the show to focus her time on her family, including husband Josh Kelly and 1-year-old daughter Naleigh. The 31-year-old recently attended the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ball in New York, and spoke with People about her parenting style and the accompanying empathy involved, her husband as a father, and daughter Naleigh’s latest milestone.
On her discipline style: “I’m a lot more strict than I thought I would be. I really feel like discipline and manners, a good schedule, a good night sleep and a good nap are really important. I didn’t think I would be quite so like that.”
Of the empathy that she feels as a mother: “It is so gut wrenching in a way that I could have never predicted. You have this empathy suddenly -– this compassion for a mother going through anything complicated or difficult with a child. It’s something that I understand now –- that unbelievable drive and instinct to protect.”
On husband Josh Kelly as a dad: “I really could not have imagined a better father for [Naleigh]. She’s the luckiest little kid. We call him “Disneyland Dad” because as soon as he comes in it’s just fun and happiness — and she rides around the room on his shoulders. He’s [also] fantastic with diapers, food, naptime, playtime – he’s got it all.”
On Naleigh’s latest milestone, speaking her first word: “It was ‘hi,’ And then she would go, ‘Oh yeah!’ all the time. She would be playing with her toys and go, ‘Oh yeah!’ in that inflection. It’s genius!”
Heigl’s mom, who attended the event with her daughter, also gushed about her daughter and son-in-law as parents, saying, “Both her and Josh are wonderful, wonderful parents. They just adore her.”