'Grey's' Knight Addresses Gay Slur

Three months after coming out of the closet, T.R. Knight is still dealing with the incident that spurred him to announce his sexuality.

On Wednesday's (Jan. 17) "Ellen" show, the "Grey's Anatomy" actor confirms that he got the courage to do so after his co-star Isaiah Washington called him a "faggot."

"It's an awesome word, isn't it?" says the 33-year-old who plays the show's George O'Malley. "I've never been called that to my face. So I think when that happened, something shifted, and it became bigger than myself.

"I was under no delusions," he adds. "My friends on the set knew. We talked about it. Publicly it's not my thing to call up People magazine and be like, 'Hey, you want to know something about me?' ... I could've just let it slide and not said anything, but it became important. It became important to make the statement."

Washington reportedly uttered the slur back in October during an argument with fellow "Grey's" star Patrick Dempsey. At the time, Washington apologized, saying, "I sincerely regret my actions and the unfortunate use of words during the recent incident on-set." In the Golden Globes press room Monday (Jan. 15) night, however, he denied using the word: "No, I did not call T.R. a faggot. Never happened, never happened."

Knight is astounded by the denial.

"He referred to me as a faggot," he says on "Ellen." "Everyone heard it."

At the Golden Globes Washington also claimed that he would never do anything "so vile and so horrible, not only to a castmate, but to a fellow human being." He also said that everything is hunky-dory with Dempsey after the alleged October scuffle: "I kiss Patrick Dempsey. We sing 'Ebony and Ivory' every day since the so-called incident and it hasn't come up."

Another "Grey's" star has also jumped into the fray.

"I'm going to be really honest right now, [Washington] needs to just not speak in public. Period," says Katherine Heigl, who plays intern Izzie Stevens. "I'm sorry, that did not need to be said, I'm not okay with it. I don't think he means it the way he comes off ... But T.R. is my best friend. I will throw down for that kid. I will beat you up. I will use every ounce of energy I have to take you down if you hurt his feelings."

On the hit ABC drama, Knight plays an intern who nursed an unrequited crush on roommate and fellow intern Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), then dated and broke up with Dr. Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez), with whom he now has a tenuous relationship.

Knight is a theater-trained actor who has also made guest appearances on "Frasier," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" and "CSI."