Emmy Rossum Is Leaving ‘Shameless’ and Fans Are Devastated
It's the end of an era.
On Thursday (August 30), Emmy Rossum announced her departure from Shameless, Showtime's hit drama series about a dysfunctional family living in Chicago.
Rossum, who has played the complex, multi-layered Fiona Gallagher on the long-running show since 2011, revealed her plans to leave in an emotional, lengthy Facebook post. She wrote:
"It’s a hard thing to put into words, feelings. But I’m going to try. This business is always an adventure, full of travel and opportunities to tell stories. Usually as an actor, every few months, you travel to a new place, start a new project, build a new character, learn new rhythms, new inside jokes with your crew, make new friends.
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. 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."
Rossum also gushed about playing Fiona, calling the character a "gift," as well as a "mother lion, fierce, flawed and sexuality liberated."
"There are few characters — female or otherwise — as layered and dynamic," the TV star continued. "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 know you will continue on without me, for now," Rossum concluded. "There is much more Gallagher story to be told. 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."
Despite her optimistic sign-off, fans of the series were gutted to hear of Rossum's decision to leave—yet many also understood, pointing out that despite her critically acclaimed portrayal on the show, she has yet to receive a single award for her role on Shameless.
Many also pointed out the pay disparity between Rossum and actor William H. Macy, who portrays Fiona's absentee father, Frank, as a potential reason for her leaving. In 2016, the actress halted production on the show over a contract dispute, which was quickly resolved.
Below, see some of the devastated responses to Rossum's Shameless departure.
Shameless' Season 9 premieres Sunday, September 9 on Showtime.