Rossum wrote an open letter to fans of the series on Facebook on Thursday, saying, “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.”
The 31-year-old actress starred as Fiona Gallagher, the oldest of six siblings, who had to step up and become the matriarch of her family.
“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,” she wrote. “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.”
“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 dishevelled. 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.”
Rossum, who starred in the hit Showtime series since it premiered in 2011, went on to say how “proud” and “filled with gratitude” she is as the show reaches 100 episodes.
“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.”
Many fans of the show took to Twitter to discuss the surprise announcement from Rossum.
Rossum had previously threatened to leave Shameless in 2016 if she didn’t receive pay equal to that of her costar William H. Macy.
She had a salary standoff with Warner Bros., which caused a delay for the Season 8 renewal of the Showtime drama.
When Rossum joined the cast of Shameless in 2011, her salary was significantly lower than her co-star, Macy. Speaking out about the issue, Rossum said it made perfect sense that she was paid less than Macy at the time because it was her first TV show.
At the 2017 Vulture Festival, Rossum revealed that Macy was one of her biggest supporters. She told the panel, “It’s unconscionable they would pay a woman less for the same job.”
“It’s show biz’s job to get us for as cheaply as they can — and our job to say no,” she said. Macy went on to point out that Rossum’s character, Fiona, is truly the centre of the show.
Read Rossum’s full post below.