George is dead! He's dead! They're about to put him in the ground and the priest is doing classic rock lyrics! And that girl, that redhead, is crying harder than his mother and she never even met him!
— Izzie Stevens
Isobel Katherine "Izzie" Stevens was a surgical resident at Seattle Grace Hospital until she was fired shortly after the merger with Mercy West Medical Center. She was married to Alex Karev, but divorced him when she left after he told her he deserved better.
Izzie grew up by Forest Park, on Route 6, behind a church in Chehalis, Washington. She lived in a trailer park with her mother who nicknamed her "Cricket."
As a teenager, Izzie worked as a waitress and had savings for college but her mother spent most of the money on psychics. This forced Izzie to pay most of the bills with her own money. At only 16, Izzie gave birth to a daughter who she subsequently gave up for adoption. Izzie privately named her daughter Sarah but her adoptive parents named her Hannah (Izzie would later have to donate bone marrow to Hannah, who was suffering from leukemia). Because of her pregnancy, mothers made their children stay away from Izzie so she had no friends.
When she turned 18, she left home. She paid for medical school by modeling for designer "Bethany Whisper," which led to her receiving the nickname, Dr. Model.
Izzie met Denny Duquette, a heart patient, who immediately took a liking to Izzie. As time went on, the two got closer to the point that they fell in love with each other. Still, Denny needed a new heart, only alive due to his LVAD.
A heart became available, but when the heart donor flat-lined, Burke and Alex attempted to take Dr. Hahn's heart in order for Denny to receive a heart that day. However, Hahn's transplant patient had been put on the donor list 17 seconds before Denny. Knowing the only way that Denny would get the heart would be if his condition worsened immediately, Izzie cut Denny's LVAD wire so that this would happen. Upon arrival at Seattle Grace, Burke was shot and Hahn was needed to do the surgery. While the surgery was completed successfully, Denny soon after died from an unexpected stroke.
Upon confessing to compromising the LVAD wire, Izzie then quit her job. She was soon after given the job back, although she was on probation. She was ultimately taken off of probation after helping a victim of the ferry boat crash.
Following Denny's appearance and discovering she is ill, Izzie decides to try and diagnose herself secretly. She uses the interns and teaching to diagnose herself, by first conducting various medical tests on herself to diagnose herself, and then creating "Patient X". Izzie was diagnosed with cancer: Stage IV metastatic melanoma with metastasises to the liver, brain and skin, giving her a 5% survival chance. When Izzie wondered whether to ignore it or face it, Lexie encouraged Patient X to fight the odd, and that her mother died of the hiccups and that has a 100% survival rate.
Izzie chooses to tell Cristina about her cancer, and Cristina sets her up with the best surgical oncologist in the state as well as producing masses of research, but Izzie chooses to blow off the appointment, making Cristina wonder why she ever confided in her to begin with. Eventually, Cristina cannot handle the pressure and tells an OR full of staff, including Alex and Bailey, of Izzie's diagnosis, which gives Izzie the final push to fight for her life, and she finally admits herself into Seattle Grace as a patient.
Izzie's first part of her treatment is to have the temporal lobe metastases removed by Derek, who returns to surgery to operate on Izzie following his breakdown. Meredith also suggests to Izzie that she has obstetrics remove healthy eggs from her, for her future. The first stage of her treatment is successful, as Derek removes the tumor fully from Izzie's temporal lobe, no thanks to Rebecca Swender, Izzie's oncologist who constantly second guesses Derek during surgery until Derek finds his rhythm and quietens Dr. Swender.
Following the news of her cancer and Meredith and Derek's wedding. She began to plan the wedding and even created Meredith and Derek's Wedding Website. However, after discovering another tumor in her brain due to the appearance of Denny, Meredith and Derek give away their wedding to Izzie and Alex and they get married. Then she does the risky surgery, and the tumor was successfully removed.
During the budget cuts at Seattle Grace, Izzie accidentally administered an incorrect dosage of medicine to a patient. This caused Chief Webber to fire her. Thinking Alex was partly to blame, Izzie wrote him a letter and left.
Izzie later returned to Seattle for a final PET scan and to ask Derek to put in a good word for her, so she could get a job in Tacoma and repair things with Alex. Derek learned that Tacoma didn't want to hire her because of her history, but he planned on hiring Izzie back once he was given the job of Chief of Surgery. At the same time, Izzie went to show Alex that her scan was clean, meaning she was officially not dying of cancer. He was genuinely happy for her, but being with her had taught him that he was a good guy, good enough not to deserve feeling like this. He deserved someone who would stay. He wanted Izzie to go and never come back and be happy too. Realizing that there was nothing left to repair, Izzie went to Meredith's house to pack her stuff. Meredith begged her not to throw the people that loved her aside and not to leave, as it was her home. Izzie replied that Seattle isn't her home anymore. It's just a place she used to work and she can do that anywhere. Thereby, she left to start all over again somewhere else.
Her current whereabouts and status are unknown, but she did later send Alex divorce papers, which he signed and send back to her.
When Alex Karev discovered her history as a model, he didn't waste any time in putting up her lingerie advertisements all over Seattle Grace Hospital. Despite the incident, she saw through Alex's shallow, callous exterior and befriended him, to the shock of her friends.
When he eventually asked her out, she was disappointed that he didn't have the courage to kiss her. For a while she refused to speak to him until spontaneously at Joe's bar, he kissed her.
Despite dating Alex, a heart patient named Denny Duquette continually flirted with her. It led nowhere and he left the hospital shortly after they met after failing to receive a new heart.
Due to some difficulties on Alex's part, their sexual relationship didn't take off. And after Izzie caught Alex sleeping with Nurse Olivia, she ended their relationship and was furious with him. When Izzie discovered her friends were helping Alex study for his failed boards she blew up at them although she eventually forgave him and helped him study as well. Even though she forgave him she ruled out the possibility of another relationship with him. When there was a bomb scare in the hospital, Izzie felt she needed to do what she wanted before it was to late. She proceeded to have sex with Alex in a linen closet again several times throughout the day. Alex assumed that they were dating again but Meredith told him that they were only sleeping together and Izzie wouldn't ever think of him the same after his incident with Olivia.
Later in season 5, Izzie gives Alex an ultimatum, she tells him to either be the nice guy or the jerk but he can't be both. He kisses her and they later decide to go steady. Things go well but Denny begins to appear to Izzie and she even has sex with him. Shockingly, it turns out that the appearances of Denny are because of an illness she has.
In "What a Difference a Day Makes", Meredith and Derek give their wedding to Izzie after discovering her inoperable tumor and she gets married to Alex.
When Denny was readmitted to the hospital after suffering cardiac dysrthymia, Izzie brushed Alex off so she could tend to Denny. Alex felt threatened by Denny so he told Denny he should back off, because he would probably die from heart failure and if he did if would hurt Izzie. When Izzie finds out that Alex said this to Denny she confronted him and he replied that she can't get involved with patients. She later realizes that she doesn't have to settle for Alex.
However, Denny survives and they grow closer. He had an LVAD inserted to keep him alive for longer so he could wait for a heart, but after finding out that Denny had become a DNR (do not resuscitate) patient, Izzie jumped at the chance to get him a new heart. After discovering that he lost a donor heart to someone on the donor list who was ahead of him by 17 seconds, she implored him to let her cut his LVAD wire so his condition would worsen and he would move up on the donor list. At first, Denny refused because it would end her medical career and he didn't want to steal a heart out of another man's chest but after Izzie broke down crying and begging him, he agreed. Izzie cut Denny's LVAD wire and sought the help of her fellow interns to keep him alive. As the interns struggled to keep Denny alive, Cristina informed them that Denny's surgeon,Preston Burke, was shot and struggling to survive. After hearing the news, Izzie panicked, completely at a loss. In the midst of the chaos, Denny proposed to a shocked Izzie. Dr. Miranda Bailey walked in on the interns and banned them all from any surgeries until the person who cut the LVAD wire confessed. Meanwhile, Alex invited Dr. Erica Hahn to replace Dr. Burke on Denny's heart transplant surgery. Dr. Hahn successfully completed Denny's transplant surgery and when Izzie visited Denny after his transplant she accepted his marriage proposal. Denny died from a stroke shortly thereafter leaving Izzie devastated and lying next to Denny's body. Alex carried her off the bed and told her that the body wasn't Denny and that Denny loved her and he wouldn't want Izzie to do this to herself. After a long period of mourning, Izzie moved on but refused Alex's offer of a relationship.
When Izzie discovered that George liked Meredith, she encouraged him to tell her. Eventually, he did but after his disastrous sexual encounter with her he moved out of the house, much to Izzie's disappointment. Despite several attempts, George refuses to tell Izzie where he is currently living. Eventually, he moved back in and frequently had his new girlfriend Dr. Callie Torres over, much to Izzie's dismay. Izzie made it very clear to George that she disapproved of her presence in his life because she considered Callie a freak. After taking multiple jibes, Callie told George it was because Izzie was in love with him.
After Callie disclosed the fact that she was somewhat wealthy and was paying most of their bills herself and didn't mind doing so, a hurt George told Meredith, who told Izzie. Izzie used this information when making a snide remark about Callie, knowing it would hit a nerve. Infuriated at his indiscretion, Callie kicked George out of their hotel room after voicing her opinion that Izzie "had feelings" for George. Upset and confused, George went to Izzie and Meredith's house with a bottle of bourbon and after getting drunk, Izzie and George slept together. The next day, George had no recollection of their intimacy the previous night and didn't remember until he was having lunch with Callie and her father. George confronted Izzie about it in a linen closet at the hospital and after they almost kissed, George left in a surge of guilt. Later, Izzie wanted to tell Callie but George insisted that it be kept a secret.
While dealing with the aftermath of her sexual encounter with George, Izzie was visited by the adoptive parents of the child she had given up years before. Hannah, now 11, is sick with leukimia and her donor for a bone marrow transplant had died the previous night. Izzie asked if she could meet Hannah, her parents agreed if Hannah wanted to. Izzie agreed to donate bone marrow to save her daughter's life, causing her emotional grief, Dr. Bailey helped Izzie keep her daughter a secret from the other interns and helped her during the beginning of the bone marrow harvest. Hannah's parents informed Izzie that Hannah was tired and maybe Izzie could meet Hannah when she was more well, despite this, Izzie still agreed to donate bone marrow. George noticed Izzie crying earlier and went to find her. He stayed with her for the rest of the harvest, setting aside other emotions. In the recovery room, Izzie confides in George that she has a daughter and says she needs their friendship to survive even though the sex wasn't tragic like the encounter with he and Meredith. George was still conflicted with his feelings for Izzie and his guilt in betraying Callie, he left Izzie crying in the room, only to return once he realized Izzie needed help as a friend. George came with Izzie when she saw her daughter for the first time, noting that Hannah had Izzie's eyes and mouth.
Following which, Izzie and George pretended that everything was fine, and continued spend time together as friends. As Callie became more suspicious, she confronted Izzie and begged her to relinquish George which prompted Izzie to guiltily withdraw from him. She and George both realized they couldn't pretend their sexual encounter never happened, especially because their feelings for each other keep getting in the way. The combination of all these factors leads George to decide to transfer to Mercy West.
After George receives a letter telling him he's been accepted to Mercy West Medical Center, pending the results of the intern exam, Izzie tries to convince him not to leave by saying she has no romantic feelings towards him. However, it was made clear to the audience that Izzie really does have feelings for him and lied just to get George to stay. In the finale of the third season, Izzie admitted to George that she was in love with George, who in turn, was speechless.
George admitted he loved Izzie too in the beginning of the fourth season, despite his strange reaction to her in the finale of season three. Their relationship was soon discovered by George's wife, Callie and the two got a divorce. After some time, George and Izzie realized that their relationship was not working as they had very little chemistry. They broke up but continued to have a close friendship.
In "Some Kind of Miracle", Izzie and Denny's ghost have a fleeting moment together when they are in exactly the same place in the hospital.
Izzie quickly befriended her fellow interns, Meredith Grey, Cristina Yang, and George O'Malley. She bonded fastest with George and they became friends and after a rough start with Alex, she became friends with him too.
After her marriage, Izzie decided to introduce him to her patient friends Austin, Star, Miguel, Meg, and Allison. Izzie bonded well with Allison, who was similar to Izzie, similar cancer age and treatment plans. On discovering Allison denied surgery for her brain metastasises and discovering the IL2 therapy was working, Izzie was torn between having surgery and tries to get the opinion of Alex, Cristina, Meredith and George. However, Meredith does not agree with the surgery. Izzie eventually opts for surgery, but after Allison is rushed into surgery for a perforated bowel, which end up in her crashing on the table and being put on a ventilator, Izzie signs a DNR order. Shepherd successfully performs the surgery, removing her hippocampus. Unfortunately, Izzie memory, as could have been expected, is problematic and her short term memory is gone. Alex tries aggressively to exercise Izzie's memory abilities, but to no use, until he shouts at her, implying this was the worst decision of his life and promptly leaves, but Izzie remembers the shouting for a good while longer and when Alex returns, he is overjoyed that she remembers, until she begins to crash, leaving Season 5 ending with Izzie crashing while the Chief, Bailey and Cristina ignore the DNR order and attempt to resuscitate her.
Izzie survives and resumes her residency. After Seattle Grace merges with Mercy West she is fired as a result of necessary cutbacks.
At the beginning of her internship, Izzie struggled with other's assumptions of her as an incompetent doctor, due to the fact that she used to be a lingerie model.
Izzie was a reasonably good doctor but when she cut Denny Duquette's LVAD wire, she was going to be suspended but instead quit. Alex Karev later convinced Bailey to talk to Izzie and make her come back which Bailey succeeded in doing. Bailey convinced the Chief to let her return but with a strict probation which doesn't allow her to have contact with patients and an inferiority to her fellow interns. Izzie became dissatisfied with limited amount of medical work she could do and frequently tried to push the boundaries of her probation. She even donated most of her money from Denny Duquette's check to a free clinic where she and Bailey often worked.
During an emergency involving a ferry accident, Izzie saved a man's life by drilling burr holes into his skull with an ordinary drill in the field. This prompted an impressed chief to take her off probation and allow her to finish the rest of the procedure by drilling more burr holes but this time with a real high-speed surgical drill.
Addison Forbes Montgomery told Richard Webber that Izzie had the potential to be an extremely gifted OB/GYN, one of the best she had seen in years but she was worried because she seemed to get too close to her patients. After using a tactic of assigning Izzie to a patient that would inevitably die, Izzie left obstetrics.
Izzie decided to try going into cardiothoracics, but was met by a determined Cristina, who was also trying to make a career in the same department. She eventually decided that she was not suited for the specialty and stopped pursuing it.
After Bailey realized she had too many things to look after, she handed over the keys of the clinic to Izzie, giving it to her.
When her interns (and the others) started to dislike being doctors since they were banned from surgery, Izzie set up a competition, won by Lexie. When she realized that Denny appearing was because she was sick, the set up a competition to diagnose patient X. When she discovered that she had cancer and other people started to learn, she finally admitted herself as a patient, she just designed Meredith and Derek's wedding and was quizzed on medical trivia by Bailey.
She quickly got back on her feet and continued working as a surgeon, although some thought it was too soon and after concerns from Owen Hunt, Derek Shepherd and Alex, Izzie was fired during the merger with Mercy West, although the chief used the standard speech and claimed it was due to budget cutbacks. After this Izzie left a note in Alex's cubby and left him.
She can't cook, as revealed when she plans a Thanksgiving dinner for her roommates, relying on internet recipes.
She is Catholic.
Her glove size is 6.
She enjoys baking her mother's chocolate cupcakes and finds out the secret ingredient is coconut extract.
Izzie only ever sees Denny when she hallucinates, as he is the person she associates most with death.
From the original interns, Izzie is the only female one who did not sleep with an attending. On top of that, she is to date also the only main character who, as a resident, never slept with someone higher in rank during their on-screen education.
She has a tattoo of a butterfly, and claims to have others in interesting places.
Izzie was born either on January 5, 1980, as seen in Season 6 episode "How Insensitive", or on June 23, 1981, as seen on the surgical board in the Season 5 episode "Elevator Love Letter". The latter date is proven wrong by the timeline, as Wish You Were Here, in which she celebrates her birthday, takes place in between October and March.
She was interviewed by Barclay Faust prior to her employment at Seattle Grace Hospital.
Izzie shows her negative emotions by baking a lot, which can be seen often.
When Denny died, she baked so many muffins that she gave baskets filled with them to Joe.
It took Izzie 6 years to graduate from college as she was going to college at night.
She had 10 letters of recommendation for her internship at Seattle Grace Hospital, all written by the patients at a hospital where she worked as a volunteer.
Izzie did not reveal her intended specialty prior to her departure despite having a gift for OB/GYN.
A Hard Day's Night · The First Cut Is the Deepest · Winning a Battle, Losing the War · No Man's Land · Shake Your Groove Thing · If Tomorrow Never Comes · The Self-Destruct Button · Save Me · Who's Zoomin' Who?
Grey's Anatomy, Season 2
Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head · Enough is Enough · Make Me Lose Control · Deny, Deny, Deny · Bring the Pain · Into You Like a Train · Something to Talk About· Let It Be · Thanks for the Memories · Much too Much · Owner of a Lonely Heart · Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer · Begin the Begin · Tell Me Sweet Little Lies ·Break on Through · It's the End of the World · As We Know It · Yesterday · What Have I Done to Deserve This? · Band-Aid Covers the Bullet Hole · Superstition · The Name of the Game · Blues for Sister Someone · Damage Case · 17 Seconds · Deterioration of the Fight or Flight Response · Losing My Religion
Grey's Anatomy, Season 3
Time Has Come Today · I Am a Tree · Sometimes a Fantasy · What I Am · Oh, the Guilt · Let the Angels Commit · Where the Boys Are · Staring at the Sun · From a Whisper to a Scream · Don't Stand So Close to Me · Six Days, Part 1 · Six Days, Part 2 · Great Expectations · Wishin' and Hopin' · Walk on Water · Drowning on Dry Land · Some Kind of Miracle · Scars and Souvenirs · My Favorite Mistake · Time After Time · Desire · The Other Side of This Life, Part 1 · The Other Side of This Life, Part 2 · Testing 1-2-3 · Didn't We Almost Have It All?
Grey's Anatomy, Season 4
A Change is Gonna Come · Love/Addiction · Let the Truth Sting · The Heart of the Matter · Haunt You Every Day · Kung Fu Fighting · Physical Attraction... Chemical Reaction · Forever Young · Crash Into Me, Part 1 · Crash Into Me, Part 2 · Lay Your Hands on Me · Where the Wild Things Are · Piece of My Heart · The Becoming ·Losing My Mind · Freedom, Part 1 · Freedom, Part 2
Grey's Anatomy, Season 5
Dream a Little Dream of Me, Part 1 · Dream a Little Dream of Me, Part 2 · Here Comes the Flood · Brave New World · There's No 'I' in Team · Life During Wartime · Rise Up · These Ties That Bind · In the Midnight Hour · All By Myself · Wish You Were Here · Sympathy for the Devil · Stairway to Heaven · Beat Your Heart Out · Before and After · An Honest Mistake · I Will Follow You Into the Dark · Stand By Me · Elevator Love Letter · Sweet Surrender · No Good at Saying Sorry (One More Chance) · What a Difference a Day Makes · Here's to Future Days · Now or Never
Grey's Anatomy, Season 6
Good Mourning · Goodbye · I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watchin' Me · Tainted Obligation · Invasion · New History · I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked