If you’re a fan of the Showtime series Shameless, you’ll know that Emmy Rossum–who plays Fiona Gallagher–is a staple of the family and series. The eldest sister of the pack, she has always taken care of her siblings and made sure they were all okay while both of her parents were busy drinking and doing drugs (and stealing money, because, Frank).
While the show is set to air their 9th season this September on Showtime, Rossum announced this week that this season will be the last you see of Fiona Gallagher–as Rossum is no longer going to be working on Shameless. In an emotional and heartbreaking post on social media, Rossum thanked her co-stars, the crew, and the series for giving her the family she has always wanted.
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. 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.
This kind of stability, this family, has nurtured me and made feel safe enough to stretch and grow creatively. The way John Wells has shepherded me as an actress, and more recently how he’s encouraged me wholeheartedly as a director and a writer, has been an honor and a privilege.
We have made over 100 hours of television. That’s no small feat. There’s a new study that says it takes 100 hours to become friends with someone. The Gallaghers have been in people’s living rooms for 100 hours. So, it makes sense. We can feel your connection to us, to these characters. In the airport, in restaurants, on the street, when people call out “Hi Fiona” “Oh my god, it’s Lip” or “Screw you Frank!”… it feels good.
The opportunity to play Fiona has been a gift. 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.
Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours to become truly good at something. To become world class. Well by my calculation, 100 episodes, 7 days per episode (plus Chicago weeks), 12 hour days, we’re just at about 10,000 hours. So I guess we’re finally good at this. 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.
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.
With love, always.
After sharing her post online, executive producer and showrunner John Wells issued a statement saying:
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.
Fans online were devastated to hear that Rossum would not be returning for another season–seeing as Fiona is the center of the Gallagher family and more often than not, is the glue that holds everyone together. Additionally, fans were saying Rossum deserves countless awards for her time spent playing such an incredibly raw character.
i can’t believe emmy rossum is really about to leave shameless without winning one damn award for her amazing portrayal of fiona gallagher. miss rossum, i’m so sorry we failed you pic.twitter.com/uS7P9pkqjm
— leanna (@mickeysnoel) August 30, 2018
GIVE EMMY ROSSUM THE RECOGNITION SHE DESERVES pic.twitter.com/NeQ2zO2Xp5
— jess (@denniszaIewski) August 30, 2018
Breaking: Emmy Rossum’s character on Shameless, Fiona, is being written off of the show.
Live look at me right now: pic.twitter.com/djGGWvXXZW
— Nathan Wiseman (@NathanWisemanTV) August 30, 2018
so you’re telling me emmy rossum is going to leave shameless without an emmy pic.twitter.com/vIu5JwQlrW
— nicole (@waterstcns) August 30, 2018
Emmy Rossum just announced she’s leaving Shameless and I truly just. Could die of a broken heart right here right now
— danielle (@faheey) August 30, 2018
miss emmy rossum is about to exit shameless never having gotten the recognition she honestly deserved playing fiona gallagher and that's so upsetting so here's a thread of all the scenes/episodes she should've been at LEAST nominated for
— lani (@felicitysdinah) August 30, 2018
Emmy Rossum deserves all the awards. Fiona Gallagher will go down as one of my all time favorite fictional characters because of the life Emmy gave her. Shameless shouldn't go on without her tbh. pic.twitter.com/0aXMUGRbyJ
— just Josh for now (@BatcaveBruce) August 30, 2018
WHY TF IS EMMY ROSSUM BEING WRITTEN OFF ??? FIONA GALLAGHER DESERVES BETTER ! IM PISSED.
— ari (@arii) August 30, 2018
Emmy Rossum has poured her SOUL into playing Fiona Gallagher on Shameless and been paid DUST! Yous brought this upon yourselves! She needs to move on and get the accolades she deserves! ? pic.twitter.com/4oOTxzh1jI
— Jay Breeze (@DeLaBreezus) August 30, 2018
You can watch the final season featuring Fiona Gallagher on Showtime starting on September 9th at 9 P.M.