For the past nine years, award-wining actress Emmy Rossum transformed herself into one of television's most unapologetic characters as Fiona Gallagher on Shameless. As the eldest daughter of perpetual screw-up parents, Fiona found herself in the unglamorous position of holding her dysfunctional family together. With little money to their names, she hustled to give her siblings opportunities she never had.
This fierce spirit emanated from the screen to Rossum's real life, where she helped pave the way for women in entertainment by demanding to get paid the same amount as William H. Macy, the man who portrayed her fictional deadbeat dad. But now, Rossum is ready to pursue a new mission, one far away from her dilapidated life in Chicago's South Side. The actress announced on Thursday that she'd be exiting Showtime's hit series, Shameless, after nine seasons.
Shameless' showrunner and executive producer John Wells said in a statement released to Refinery29 that he would welcome her back at any time.
"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," Wells' statement read.
He continued, "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."
That sentiment was mirrored in statements from Showtime and Warner Bros. Television.
"We were saddened when Emmy Rossum let us know that the upcoming ninth season of Shameless would be her last," Gary Levine, Showtime Networks President of Programming, said in a statement. "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."
Rossum's statement focused on the friendships she'd made during her time on the show.
"I know you will continue on without me, for now. There is much more Gallagher story to be told," she wrote in a statement on Facebook. "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."
In her post, Rossum also reflected on the many ways in which Shameless changed her life.
"Until 'Shameless' came into my life 8 years ago, I led that kind of transient wonderful life of an actor," she wrote. "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."
That connection, she continued, was something she'd "always dreamed of" as an only child.
"We've watched the kids grow up into the strong, talented, independent human beings that they are ... It really feels like a family," she added. "This kind of stability, this family, has nurtured me and made feel safe enough to stretch and grow creatively."
Rossum also celebrated her character for being "a mother lion, fierce, flawed and sexually liberated" and reflected that "the last eight years have been the best" of her life.
The ninth season of Shameless premieres on September 9 and will feature appearances from powerhouse actresses Courtney Cox and Katey Sagal.
*This story was updated to include statements from John Wells, Gary Levine, and Warner Bros. Television. The original story was published on August 30 at 2:57 p.m. EST.