Katherine Heigl is one of those people who evokes an instant, sometimes visceral response. She’s gorgeous and talented, yet there's something undeniably grating about the romcom queen. She’s a proto-Anne Hathaway, if you will, who has already entered the animal non-profit spokeswoman era of her career. I’m rooting for her big comeback (Wish Upon a Star 2, anyone?!), but 21 years ago, the actress was just kicking off her professional life—and her love life.
Heigl landed the cover of Seventeen magazine’s August 1994 issue at the tender age of 15, just as she was making her transition from Sears catalog model to film actress. More excitingly, she had also just begun courting Joey Lawrence, who some of you may remember as Joey in Blossom, Joe in Brotherly Love, or Joe in Melissa and Joey.
Heigl met 18-year-old Lawrence at Seventeen’s 50th anniversary party. And while she totally fangirled over him internally, according to her interview with the magazine, she played it cool during their exchange. Their teen love was so real that Heigl’s parents allowed Lawrence take her out, even though she wasn’t supposed to date until she was 16. She explained to interviewer DeDe Lahman, “my mother made a special exception because she had a talk with Joey—just kind of a 'my daughter’s not really supposed to be dating but because I like you, you can take her out' talk."
Lawrence apparently convinced her parents that he was nice and responsible and “appreciated and respected” Heigl’s values. And just in case you doubt the teen couple's wholesomeness, when asked what made them so compatible, Heigl responded, “He’s just like me. Neither of us drinks or smokes or gets into that whole Hollywood scene. We try to keep it pretty normal.”
So innocent, you guys! But even though they had barely been dating at the time of the interview, Heigl knew there was something about him. “I like him because he’s so genuine. I think he’s the first guy that I’ve ever really, really liked. I’m almost…maybe, I think I might be in love with him. But that’s kind of strong to say so I’m not sure.”
As Joey's character in Blossom would say, WHOA.
Ugh, that was so adorable and delightfully earnest. She just admitted to maybe falling in love for the first time IN A MAGAZINE INTERVIEW. Sure, it might have been a PR stunt, but the seeming teenage authenticity is just too much, and honestly, probably a relic of the past. Oh, and just FYI, their relationship reportedly lasted three months, which is by far the cutest part of all this.
(I should mention that, in a 2010 interview, Lawrence claimed the romantic relationship was just "rumors." I can hear 15-year-old Heigl's heart breaking as I type.)
Other highlights of the interview? At one point Heigl describes what she likes to do with her friends. Want to know the answer? Think about what literally any 15-year-old likes to do! No seriously, guess—you’re probably right. Did it involve trampolines and/or ghost stories? Told you.
“We do little things, like the other night we were supposed to go the beach and have a picnic and tell ghost stories and stuff, or sometimes we’ll go to the movies. And a lot of times we just end up hanging out at someone’s house. Everybody around here has a trampoline, so we all sit on the trampoline, get tan, and talk.”
This is what it is to be 15 and beautiful in 1994.