In an open letter to fans of the series posted on Facebook Thursday, Rossum wrote, “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.”
Showtime’s head of programming, Gary Levine, confirmed Rossum’s exit in a statement to Variety.
“We were saddened when Emmy Rossum let us know that the upcoming ninth season of ‘Shameless’ would be her last,” Levine said. “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. Fiona Gallagher will always be one of Showtime’s iconic characters, and we applaud Emmy for bringing this character to life in such a natural, touching and fearless performance. On behalf of everyone at Showtime and her millions of fans, we thank you Emmy!”
The show’s ninth season is scheduled to premiere Sept. 9.
Rossum renewed her deal to star in the show in 2016 after a salary dispute with Warner Bros. Television, which produces “Shameless,” spilled into public. Rossum had sought to eliminate the pay gap between her and fellow series lead William H. Macy, who had made more on the series from its beginning. But negotiations stalled when Rossum asked for a salary exceeding Macy’s. The two sides ultimately came together on an agreement prior to the start of production on season eight.
The season-eight renewal had been held up on account of Rossum’s salary negotiation.
In her letter Thursday, Rossum wrote, “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.”