Julianna Margulies Reveals Reason She Left ER Even After Being Offered $27 Million to Stay

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Dory Jackson
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Julianna Margulies chose to end her run on ER in 2000 following six seasons — even after a $27 million offer was put on the table to have her continue on for two more seasons.

During an upcoming appearance on Oprah Winfrey's discovery+ series, Super Soul, Margulies explains what ultimately convinced her to part ways from the acclaimed medical drama.

"I felt very alone because I had already planned what I was going to do before they had offered me that money. I had my life planned," the actress, 54, tells Winfrey in a clip, first posted by TV Line on Wednesday. "I was going back to New York to go and do this play and then all this money came up. Everyone I asked said, 'You'd be crazy [not to]. Take the money, take the money.'"

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Margulies found her sign to move on following a visit to the Bodhi Tree Bookstore in Los Angeles, however.

"I had heard a friend got some spiritual books and I had been studying some Buddhism, so I went [to the bookstore]," she continues. "And I ran my finger down a shelf and I picked out a book, Awakening the Buddha Within."

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"I brought it home and I said nothing. I walked into my bedroom, I opened the book, I closed my eyes and I [pointed to a line in the book]. And I opened my eyes and the line was, 'I knew I wanted to learn more, not earn more,'" she adds.

Margulies played Carol Hathaway on the long-running series, which ended in 2009 after 15 seasons. For her efforts on ER, she earned an Emmy in 1995 for supporting actress in a drama series.

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On April 22, the Good Wife alum reunited with several of her former ER castmates, including George Clooney and Noah Wyle. During the virtual reunion, Margulies, who was originally a guest star on ER, revealed that Clooney urged her to not take another job just in case she was asked to return.

"George called me. He said, 'If you're thinking about taking a job, I urge you not to. I think in the next couple of days, you might be offered a series regular role,'" she recalled. "And I was like, 'But I died! How does that work?' He was like, 'I don't know, but I think it's going to work.'"

She added, "I was about to go do Homicide: Life on the Street because I had done two episodes of it before I did the pilot of ER and they wanted me back. I didn't take the job. And a week later, they called and said, 'We're going to make you a series regular.'"

Margulies is gearing up to release her memoir, Sunshine Girl: An Unexpected Life, on May 4. Later this year, she will appear on the second season of Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon's Apple TV+ drama, The Morning Show.

Super Soul premieres Saturday on discovery+.