Fiona Gallagher is saying goodbye.
In an emotional and heartfelt post on social media, Shameless star Emmy Rossum has announced that she’s leaving the show on which she has starred on for nine seasons.
“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,” wrote the 31-year-old actress. “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.”
Since the hit Showtime series premiered in 2011, Rossum has starred as Fiona, the oldest Gallagher sibling who had to step up and become the matriarch of her messy, wild family.
“The opportunity to play Fiona has been a gift,” she continued. “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.”
In conclusion, Rossum talked about how “proud” and “filled with gratitude” she is as the show reaches 100 episodes ahead of her departure.
“I can say for certain that this cast and crew, who I’ve been truly honored to work alongside, are world class,” she concluded. “I know you will continue on without me, for now. 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.”
Not long after Rossum’s post, Shameless showrunner John Wells released the following statement: “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.”
Added Gary Levine, Showtime’s president of programming: “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. 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!”
To read why Rossum thinks the show could run “forever” even without her, head over here.
Check out Rossum’s fell message below.
Shameless returns to Showtime on Sept. 9.