Why did Emmy Rossum leave Shameless? (How did Fiona leave?)

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 01: Emmy Rossum attends Apple TV+'s "The Crowded Room" New York Premiere at Museum of Modern Art on June 01, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 01: Emmy Rossum attends Apple TV+'s "The Crowded Room" New York Premiere at Museum of Modern Art on June 01, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images) /

Emmy Rossum played the fan-favorite character, Fiona Gallagher, in the long-running comedy-drama series Shameless for nine seasons before departing. Unfortunately, her exit from the series came before the show ended. Why is that? Read on to find out!

Shameless was created by Paul Abbott and John Wells. Additionally, it’s based on the popular British television series of the same name by Abbott. The show followed the lives of the dysfunctional Gallagher family living on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois.

Fiona was the central character and eldest Gallagher child. With an absent mother and an alcoholic father, Fiona had to step up to the plate to care for her siblings, taking on horrible dead-end minimum-wage jobs. But although she’s taken on a huge responsibility, she still tries to keep some normalcy by going out every now and then to party with her best friend and next-door neighbor, Veronica.

While she is responsible most of the time, she also has her moments where she makes risky decisions. But overall, she’s considered the most reliable sibling and very hardworking. Fans enjoyed watching Emmy Rossum’s portrayal of the street-smart character, and that’s why it was so hard to say goodbye to her.

Emmy Rossum, Shameless
LOS ANGELES, CA – MAY 24: Emmy Rossum arrives at the Emmy For Your Consideration Event for Showtime’s “Shameless” at Linwood Dunn Theater on May 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images) /

Emmy Rossum’s exit from Shameless believed to stem from her wanting to pursue new projects, among other things

Emmy Rossum announced her departure from the family-drama series back in August 2018, a month before the ninth season was scheduled to air. She penned an emotional and heartfelt post on Facebook explaining her exit and what a journey it’s been on the show.

Emmy’s post was long, but we shared what some of her message said below.

"“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.”“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.”“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.”"

Emmy Rossum told Entertainment Weekly that she decided to depart the show because “it was time for the character [Fiona] to spread her wings and that there was less need for her.” Basically, she felt like her character’s journey was finished. Her exit also came from her wanting to pursue other creative endeavors and further her acting career.

There was a rumor that her exit had something to do with contractual issues. Back in 2016, Variety reported that Emmy was having issues when it came to her salary on the show. She was being paid significantly less than her co-star William H. Macy for the first seven seasons, so she was basically asking for back pay and then equal pay going forward.

It’s unclear if her exact request was granted, but she did agree to a deal to star in seasons 8 and 9. But when it came to additional seasons, there’s a rumor that “failed salary negotiations” caused her to leave the series. This was never confirmed, though.

Emmy moved on to new projects after her exit from Shameless, such as starring in the lead role in the Peacock miniseries Angelyne. She then went on to star in the Apple TV+ miniseries The Crowded Room.

How does Emmy Rossum leave Shameless?

Well, her character was written off the show. Her last appearance in the family-drama series is in the season 9 finale titled “Found.” After learning that she’s getting $100,000 from a real estate deal, Fiona leaves half of the money for her family and takes the other half with her as she moves out of South Side Chicago for a fresh start somewhere else.

Emmy was actually supposed to return for the series finale but was unable to do so because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, according to showrunner John Wells. After the series finale aired, Wells talked with The Hollywood Reporter and spoke about Fiona’s current whereabouts. He said that he thinks she’s in Florida and probably has gotten a job at Disney World.

All 11 seasons of Shameless are streaming now on Netflix.

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