Emmy Rossum Says She's Leaving 'Shameless' After 9 Seasons
By Philiana Ng
Emmy Rossum is saying goodbye to Shameless.
The 31-year-old actress, who plays Fiona Gallagher, posted a lengthy, emotional letter to fans on her Facebook page on Thursday morning, announcing that she will be exiting the Showtime series she's called home for nine seasons. Rossum's exit was confirmed by Showtime, Shameless executive producer John Wells and Warner Bros. Television, the studio behind the series, early Thursday afternoon.
"It’s hard thing to put into words, feelings. But I’m going to try," Rossum began her note. "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. And given all of us in the crew. Season after season I’m amazed that our same crew comes back. And it’s not just because it’s a wonderfully written, wonderfully layered show. There are these real connections, real friendships that bring us back season after season after season."
Rossum continued on, expressing her gratefulness over being a part of an ensemble, which includes William H. Macy, and creating over 100 hours of television featuring the endearingly dysfunctional Gallagher clan.
"The opportunity to play Fiona has been a gift," she wrote. "There are few characters -- female or otherwise -- as layered and dynamic. She is a mother lion, fierce, flawed and sexually liberated. She is injured, vulnerable, but will never give up. She is living in an economic depression, but refuses to be depressed. She is resourceful. She is loyal. She is brave. I knew it the second I read the pilot script, this was different, this was special. I tirelessly prepped the audition with my coach Terry Knickerbocker. I walked to the appointment in the rain so I looked disheveled. During my third audition, when I got the part IN the room, I literally jumped up and down screaming in joyous relief and disbelief. Quite simply, the last eight years have been the best of my life."
"I know you will continue on without me, for now. There is much more Gallagher story to be told," she concludes. "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."
Read Rossum's full goodbye letter below.
It’s a hard thing to put into words, feelings. But I’m going to try.
This business is always an adventure, full of...
“Emmy Rossum will forever be part of the Shameless family," Shameless EP Wells said in a statement. "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.”
“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," added Showtime Networks President of Programming Gary Levine. "Fiona Gallagher will always be one of Showtime’s iconic characters, and we applaud Emmy for bringing this character to life in such a natural, touching and fearless performance. On behalf of everyone at Showtime and her millions of fans, we thank you Emmy!”
“For eight years and more than 100 episodes, Emmy Rossum has delivered a deeply honest, authentic and unflinching portrayal of Fiona Gallagher, one of television’s great characters," Warner Bros. TV said. "We wish her all the best as she explores the next chapter in her career. But before that, we are excited for fans of Shameless to see Emmy and the entire ensemble cast continue the adventures of the Gallagher family in the show’s upcoming ninth season.”
Rossum's impending departure on Shameless comes as a bit of a surprise. In a featurette previewing the upcoming ninth season, Rossum teased what fans can expect in the new episodes, offering no indication that she was pondering an exit.
"In season nine, Fiona has really become an entrepreneur," she said in the video, which ET exclusively debuted earlier this month. "Through determination, grit and street smarts, she is climbing towards the American dream. We see her getting high on her own success and leaning into a little bit of hubris. I’m not quite sure how that’s going to play out yet, but we’ll see."
In December 2016, Rossum successfully renegotiated her contract after fighting for pay parity to have her salary in the same ballpark as her co-star, Macy. Showtime's David Nevins told reporters in January 2017 that he felt Rossum's request was justified.
"Just to be clear, it felt like [salary] parity was very justified in this case and we were abdicating for that from the beginning," he said at the time. "We've now worked something out that is great for her, great for us. Emmy has been a force on that show in a great way -- both, obviously, with what she does in front of the camera, but also she's a great leader on the set behind the camera."
In addition to Macy and Rossum, Shameless stars Ethan Cutkosky, Shanola Hampton, Steve Howey, Emma Kenney, Cameron Monaghan and Jeremy Allen White. Katey Sagal and Courteney Cox will guest star in season nine.
Shameless premieres Sunday, Sept. 9 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.