‘I had this moment of clarity’
Jim Parsons has finally opened up about leaving the show that made him the world’s highest paid TV actor in 2018 and won him four Emmys.
Jim (47), who played Sheldon Cooper for more than a decade, spoke to Dr Who star David Tennant on David Tennant Does a Podcast With… and revealed he was emotionally and physically exhausted when he decided to call it a day.
“It was a complicated road, as you could imagine,” he says.
He admitted he “kind of had a suspicion in my heart” that he would leave after agreeing to sign on for seasons 11 and 12.
The decision slowly became set in stone after he wrapped production in the summer of 2018 when he relocated to New York to star in a Broadway show and film TV commercials.
When he arrived in the Big Apple, he heard his 14-year-old dog was gravely ill back home in California.
“I was so tired I just started crying,” he says. “I was like, ‘This dog’s going to die while I’m off working and I feel so bad’.”
Still, he followed through with the ads and the Broadway work – and his worst fears came true when his dog suffered a seizure and had to be put down.
“I felt like I was at the edge of a cliff. I was teetering and I saw something really dark below between the death of the dog,” he says.
He realised he would be 46 by the time filming of season 12 ended – six years younger than his dad was when he died at the age of 52 in 2001. “I had this moment of clarity,” he says. “I thought, I gotta make a move.”
He needed to try something else – and so he turned down a reported $50 million contract to star in two more seasons.
Jim’s decision resulted in studio bosses cancelling the sitcom, something “I never wanted”, he says. Fans of the show were furious, calling him bratty and spoilt but it wasn’t the case, he insists. He just couldn’t anymore.
When it was announced that the show was ending, CBS, Warner Bros Television and Chuck Lorre Productions released a joint statement.
“We are forever grateful to our fans for their support of The Big Bang Theory during the past 12 seasons. We, along with the cast, writers and crew, are extremely appreciative of the show’s success and aim to deliver a final season, and series finale, that will bring The Big Bang Theory to an epic creative close.”
Since wrapping season 12 of The Big Bang Theory, Jim has been hard at work on other endeavours including The Boys in the Band on Broadway and starring in Ryan Murphy’s Hollywood on Netflix.
In the show, he plays Henry Wilson, a manipulative agent who has a track record of developing major movie stars. The role has landed him a nomination nod at this year’s Emmy’s.