updated 07/13/2009 AT 2:00 PM ET
•originally published 07/14/2009 AT 6:30 AM ET
Katherine Heigl plays a woman clueless in the ways of romance in her upcoming film, The Ugly Truth. But in real life, the actress considers herself fairly savvy on the subject.
“In my early 20s, I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted,” the Grey’s Anatomy star, 30, tells InStyle for August, “and if you’re just getting to know yourself while you’re in a serious relationship – it’s like you’re trying on different personalities to see what fits, but there is that real you in there somewhere.”
Heigl says she found her real self when she met singer Josh Kelley, her husband of 18 months, on the set of his 2005 video Only You. “I was fed up with trying to be somebody else, and got really lucky and met a great guy who loved me for me,” she says.
Her experiences have not only helped her learn what she wants in romance but also what she wants in a romantic comedy – and she says it isn’t always rated PG-13.
In a real relationship, Heigl posits, “you’re probably going to drop the F-bomb once in a while. You’re probably going to say some things that are kind of harsh. And you’re definitely going to talk about sex.
“It doesn’t have to be so Snow White and Prince Charming. That’s my problem with a lot of romantic comedies.”
It’s that sass and forthrightness that Ugly Truth costar Gerard Butler says made him fall madly in love with her after watching Knocked Up. “This is the sexiest, smartest, sassiest, funniest actress out there. And suddenly you get told they want you to read a script with her? I love this business!”