Unfortunately, the Gallaghers are going to have to say goodbye to their big sister and eldest daughter Fiona very soon. Emmy Rossum announced she's leaving Shameless after Season 9 in a heartfelt Facebook message that will have fans reaching for the tissues. The announcement was a bit of a surprise to fans, but her passion for Shameless, her character Fiona Gallagher, and everyone who works on the Showtime series certainly wasn't.
Rossum took to Facebook on Aug. 30 to let fans know she wouldn't be returning to Shameless after this upcoming season, which returns Sept. 9. "It’s hard thing to put into words, feelings," she wrote. "But I’m going to try." Try she did, writing how the opportunity to play Fiona was a life-changing one. Not just because it was a "gift" to play such a fierce female character that she called "a mother lion, fierce, flawed and sexually liberated." But because of who it allowed her to play with.
Rossum's goodbye message was accompanied by a black and white snapshot of the cast, who she said was more like family to her. "See, in real life, unlike Fiona, I’m an only child," she wrote. "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."
Over the course of nine seasons, Rossum became very close to her onscreen family, which included William H. Macy as her dad Frank, Emma Kenney as her sister Debbie, Ethan Cutkosky as her brother Carl, and Jeremy Allen White as Phillip "Lip" Gallagher.
"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."
Rossum thanked Wells, the co-creator of the show, for how he "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." Wells released a statement shortly after her announcement went public, writing, "Emmy Rossum will forever be part of the Shameless family," according to The Hollywood Reporter. He also promised to give her character "a Gallagher-worthy sendoff" and added that "our door will always remain open for Fiona to return home for a visit, or to move back in."
Her Shameless family was also there for her when she fought for equal pay in Season 8 of the show and got it. When the show first started in 2011, she was paid less than her co-star Macy, but as the seasons went on, it became clear that Rossum's Fiona was truly a co-lead on Shameless . Even Macy, the show's biggest star, agreed that Rossum deserved pay parity. "She works as hard as I do," Macy told TMZ in 2016 during her wage negotiations. "She deserves everything."
Those bonds she formed are why she doesn't want to look at this moment as goodbye, but farewell for now. "I know you will continue on without me, for now," she told Shameless fans. "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."
Rossum may soon be gone from Shameless but she certainly won't be forgotten. And after reading her message, it's clear she could never forget her time working on Shameless and those she spent it with. And, if Wells' statement is anything to go by, there's still a chance fans will see Fiona Gallagher again.