On Thursday, in a surprise, lengthy Facebook post about her time on Shameless, Emmy Rossum announced that she’s leaving the show after eight years.
“Until ‘Shameless’ came into my life 8 years ago, I led that kind of transient wonderful life of an actor. And I never realized how much I actually craved the kind of continuity that this show has given me,” she writes in her post, detailing how close she’s gotten to the fictional Gallagher family while playing Fiona:
See, in real life, unlike Fiona, I’m an only child. I never had a big family. Being ensconced in that messy Gallagher family love is something I’d always dreamed of. But even off set, it feels real. We’ve watched the kids grow up into the strong, talented, independent human beings that they are. I taught Emma to shave her legs. I was there when Ethan learned to drive. Shanola and Jeremy and Joan and Bill danced at my wedding in New York last year. Our fearless leader John Wells thankfully held Sam and me up on those rickety chairs during the hora. I’ve spent the Jewish holy days in temple with David Nevins and his wonderful wife and kids. It really feels like a family.
In 2016, Rossum held out on her Season 8 contract for Shameless until Showtime paid her on par with her costar William H. Macy, which put the show on hold until her paycheck was officially bumped up.
“I know you will continue on without me, for now. There is much more Gallagher story to be told,” Rossum writes. “I will always be rooting for my family. Try not to think of me as gone, just think of me as moving down the block.”
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Showtime later confirmed the news, per Deadline:
Shameless executive producer and showrunner John Wells: “Emmy Rossum will forever be part of the Shameless family. She has been integral to the show’s success, from her wonderful portrayal of Fiona to her leadership role on set, as well as directing multiple episodes of the series. We are hard at work now creating a season nine finale for Shameless which we hope will provide a Gallagher-worthy sendoff for Fiona that honors the great work Emmy has done. It is always bittersweet when an ensemble member decides to move out of the proverbial house, but our door will always remain open for Fiona to return home for a visit, or to move back in. I look forward to continuing the stories of this wildly unpredictable family and all of us on Shameless will miss Emmy and her wonderful Fiona.”
The network’s president of programming, Gary Levine described Fiona as “iconic” and stated, “We were saddened when Emmy Rossum let us know that the upcoming ninth season of Shameless would be her last. But we are filled with an overwhelming sense of joy and gratitude for Emmy’s inspired work on our series, of course in front of the camera but also behind it.”
Shameless returns for its ninth season on September 9.