The ninth season of Shameless is just over a week away, and by the looks of it, it will be the last to feature Fiona Gallagher. Emmy Rossum wrote a lengthy, emotional Facebook post Thursday in which she said that the show “will continue on without me.”
“The opportunity to play Fiona has been a gift,” she wrote. “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.”
For the past eight years Rossum, 31, has been playing scrappy Chicago native Fiona Gallagher, the older sister of the Gallagher clan who raises her five younger siblings with little to no help from her alcoholic father or mentally ill mother.
In the post, Rossum contrasts the opposing reality of her upbringing as an only child to the series’ dysfunctional family, with its many official and non-official members. She describes watching her onscreen siblings grow up, and the bond they share after spending nearly a decade together. She taught Emma Kenney, 18, who plays her younger sister Debbie, how to shave her leg, and she was there when Ethan Cutkosky, 19, who plays Carl, learned how to drive. The whole clan was at Rossum’s real-life wedding in May of last year.
“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 wrote.
Shameless, an adaptation of a British show, premiered on Showtime in 2011. In 2016, Rossum made headlines over a contract dispute with the show’s producers. She refused to sign on for the series’s eighth season unless they agreed to pay her more than William H. Macy to make up for the seven years she was paid significantly less, as People reported. A few days later, the Golden Globe-nominated actress and Warner Bros. agreed on a new contract.
Season 9 premieres Sept. 9 on Showtime.
“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.
“With love, always.”
What her exit means for the show is still uncertain. But some fans of the Gallagher saga believe Rossum should have waited for the ninth season to be done before posting her eulogy because this means the writers will have to write Fiona off and the viewers will see it coming, adding the series will likely be over soon, as well.
“She should have just waited until her last episode aired and posted the same thing afterwards. I’m mad she posted it and I’m mad that I shared it. Anyhow, I’m so so sad to see her go and I can’t imagine a Shameless without Fiona. They might as well wrap up the whole series on that note,” one Facebook user wrote as a reply to Rossum’s message.