In a lengthy emotional letter to fans on Facebook, Rossum, who has played Fiona Gallagher since the Showtime series’ launch in 2011, writes “It’s 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,” she added. “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.”
She goes on to praise the character she has played for eight seasons. “The opportunity to play Fiona has been a gift,” she writes. “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. … Quite simply, the last eight years have been the best of my life.”
She concludes by saying, “I know you will continue on without me, for now,” she concluded. “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.”
You can read her entire letter in her Facebook post below.
There were some tense moments ahead of Showtime’s eighth season pickup which came after Rossum closed a new deal with series producer Warner Bros TV after a standoff over salary. The studio reportedly offered both Rossum and William H. Macy the same salary under so-called favored nations terms that assure financial parity. She had been holding out for a salary higher than Macy’s, briefly putting the future of Shameless in limbo. Her current deal is expected to run through Season 9 and it appears Rossum has made the decision to move on.
Shameless Season 9 premieres September 9 on Showtime.
Deadline has reached out to Showtime, producer Warner Bros. TV and Rossum’s representatives for comment.