At the end of Season 9, Shameless will be losing an original cast member. Emmy Rossum, who plays Fiona Gallagher in the Showtime series, announced that she will be leaving the series at the end of its upcoming ninth season.
The 31-year-old actor has portrayed the oldest child of Frank Gallagher, played by William H. Macy, since the series premiered in 2011. She announced her departure in a Facebook post earlier today, looking back fondly on her time with the series and reflecting on memories shared with her fellow cast members.
“It’s a hard thing to put into words, feelings. But I’m going to try,” Rossum began in the post.
“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,” she continued, revealing how the stability of Shameless changed the course of her acting career. “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.”
“Season after season I’m amazed that our same crew comes back,” she added. “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.”
So, for having all of this love for the Showtime show, why is Emmy Rossum leaving Shameless?
Rossum, who grew up an only child, then explained how she bonded with her on-screen family over the years.
“Being ensconced in that messy Gallagher family love is something I’d always dreamed of. But even off set, it feels real,” she said. “It really feels like a family. This kind of stability, this family, has nurtured me and made feel safe enough to stretch and grow creatively.”
She also highlighted her appreciation for the character, saying, “The opportunity to play Fiona has been a gift. There are few characters — female or otherwise — as layered and dynamic.”
Rossum shared memories of her audition for the role over eight years ago. “I knew it the second I read the pilot script, this was different, this was special,” she said. “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.”
Toward the end of the post, she praised her cast and crew for making her work on Shameless feel so special. “Quite simply, the last eight years have been the best of my life,” Rossum said. “I can say for certain that this cast and crew, who I’ve been have truly honored to work alongside, are world class. I am proud and I’m filled with gratitude.”
Finally, Rossum ended the post with her hopes for both herself and the series moving forward. “I know you will continue on without me, for now,” she said. “There is much more Gallagher story to be told.”
“I will always be rooting for my family,” she concluded. “Try not to think of me as gone, just think of me as moving down the block.”
Thought Rossum didn't exactly give a reason for her decision to depart the show, it's possible that she's moved on to another career path. In October 2016, Rossum directed an episode of the series’ seventh season, marking her directorial debut. Shortly after the episode was completed, Rossum shared her thoughts about the longevity of the series moving forward.
“I want to see it as long as it’s going to be great,” she told Variety. “I want it to be everyone together. I can’t imagine what the show would be like without any of us. I love the show so much and I love everyone that I work with.”
“After 7 seasons, I think how could it still be good?” she continued. “But I come home from doing a scene with Jeremy Allen White or Cameron or Steve Howie who makes me laugh more than anybody ever has or Macy who has these moments of brilliance and tenderness and comedy all in one and I’m so inspired and excited and surprised. And I fall in love all over again. We should be so lucky.”
Around the same time, she also told The Hollywood Reporter about her future in acting and directing.
“I feel like anything else that I would [direct] after this, I’d have to understand it on a really true, authentic level to be interested,” Rossum said. “There’s also a huge responsibility in directing, because after this I go back to my day job and if I’ve fallen flat on my face as a director, then I’m in an even worse position than I was as an actor. If I fail as a director, then they have less respect for me.”
The news of Rossum's departure comes one year after a reported salary dispute. According to Variety, Rossum had been seeking to be paid higher than her co-lead William H. Macy as part of her new contract for Season 8, to make up for the seven previous seasons in which she was paid less than Macy.
Season 9 of Shameless premieres Sunday, September 9 at 9pm on Showtime — savor every last bit of Fiona's airtime as you can!