The backbone of the Gallagher clan is saying goodbye.
Emmy Rossum unexpectedly posted a lengthy letter to fans on Facebook announcing she is departing the Showtime series. Shameless, an adaptation of a British show of the same name, premiered back in 2011, with Season 9 set to premiere Sept. 9 on Showtime. Rossum stars as the plucky eldest sister of a chaotic family struggling to make it out of poverty in the South Side of Chicago.
In 2016, the actress held out on signing her Season 8 contract until Warner Bros. agreed to pay her more than her Shameless co-star, William H. Macy, to make up for the seasons in which Macy had been making a significantly higher salary, despite his supporting role.
"The opportunity to play Fiona has been a gift," reads Rossum's letter, in part. "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."
Rossum goes on to say she knows the show will "continue on without me, for now."
"There is much more Gallagher story to be told. I will always be rooting for my family," writes the Shameless star. "Try not to think of me as gone, just think of me as moving down the block."
So long, Fiona. You will be missed.
You can read Rossum's entire letter, here.
Update: Series creator John Wells has weighed in on the news in a statement released to TVLine:
"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," he said and continued:
"We are hard at work now creating a Season 9 finale... 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."