- Many big-name actors have walked away from the series that helped make them famous.
- After 15 years of playing Alex Karev, Justin Chambers left ABC's "Grey's Anatomy."
- Jim Parsons' departure from CBS's "The Big Bang Theory" led the series to its final season.
Barbie Ferreira exited "Euphoria" ahead of the third season.
The actress, who played Kat on the HBO series, announced her departure on an Instagram story.
Per NBC, she wrote, "After four years of getting to embody the most special and enigmatic character Kat, I'm having to say a very teary-eyed goodbye."
"I hope many of you could see yourself in her like I did and that she brought you joy to see her journey into the character she is today," she continued. "I put all my care and love into her and I hope you guys could feel it. Love you Katherine Hernandez."
Ahead of her departure, there was speculation about on-set drama between the actor and "Euphoria" creator Sam Levinson — but Ferreira shut the rumors down in a March interview with Insider's Olivia Singh.
Jesse Williams left "Grey's Anatomy" after 12 seasons of playing Jackson Avery.
In 2021, Williams left "Grey's Anatomy" after 12 seasons of playing Jackson Avery.
Avery was originally introduced as a recurring character on season six and later became a lead person on the show.
"I will forever be grateful for the boundless opportunities provided me by Shonda, the network, studio, fellow castmates, our incredible crew, Krista, Ellen and Debbie," Williams said in part of his statement to Deadline.
In February 2020, America Ferrera announced she'd be leaving "Superstore."
In February 2020, Ferrera, who is the lead on and executive producer of NBC's "Superstore," announced she'd be leaving the show after its fifth season.
"The last five years on 'Superstore' have been some of the most rewarding, enriching and enjoyable years of my career," the actress said in a statement obtained by CNN. "Producing, directing and acting with this wonderful cast and crew has given me opportunities to grow as a person and storyteller. I'm so grateful to my partners at NBC and Universal Television for the support and belief they have always placed in the show, and I'm most thankful to the brilliant Justin Spitzer for creating the funny, smart and relevant world of 'Superstore' and inviting me to be a part of it."
The actress played Amy on the show — and "Superstore" has already been renewed for a sixth season.
Ferrera made a brief appearance on season six, though, since the filming of the fifth season was cut short amid COVID-19 concerns.
After 15 years of playing Alex Karev, Justin Chambers left ABC's "Grey's Anatomy."
Chambers first began playing Alex Karev on the medical drama in 2005, and he's one of few cast members who's remained on the show since its first season.
"There's no good time to say goodbye to a show and character that's defined so much of my life for the past 15 years," Chambers said in a January 2020 statement obtained by The Wrap. "For some time now, however, I have hoped to diversify my acting roles and career choices. And, as I turn 50 and am blessed with my remarkable, supportive wife and five wonderful children, now is that time."
According to TV Line, his last episode aired in November, though fans did not know at the time that would be the final time they'd see Karev.
That said, Chambers did a voiceover a few episodes later in what was his character's official farewell — and many fans called it the worst goodbye a character on "Grey's" has ever had.
Chelsea DeBoer (neé Houska) left "Teen Mom 2" after over a decade.
After 10 seasons and 11 years, Chelsea DeBoer walked away from MTV's "Teen Mom 2."
In a November 2020 Instagram post, the star said she was parting with the show "on the best of terms." She also said she and her partner, Coel DeBoer, want to focus on different business endeavors.
The "Teen Mom 2" season-10 virtual reunion was DeBoer's final episode.
DeBoer, had been on the show since 2011. Prior to appearing on "Teen Mom 2," she was on an episode of MTV's "16 and Pregnant."
In July 2020, Tamera Mowry-Housley left "The Real" after six seasons.
After being a cohost on the talk show "The Real" for six seasons, Mowry-Housley left the series in July 2020.
She announced her departure on Instagram, writing, "For seven years, my home and heart has been at The Real. The friendships that I've made there will last a lifetime, and the people that I've had the blessing to interview have changed my life for the better."
She continued, "I'm so proud of what all the ladies and I have accomplished there, including two well-deserved NAACP Image Awards and a Daytime Emmy. However, all good things must come to an end, and it's with a bittersweet smile that I announce that I am moving on from The Real."
The show's former cohost Amanda Seales also left "The Real" earlier that year.
"I have arrived because my contract is up at The Real and I did not renew it because it doesn't feel good to my soul to be at a place where I cannot speak to my people the way they need to be spoken to and where the people who are speaking to me in disparaging ways are not being handled," she said during an Instagram Live, according to NBC News.
Kourtney Kardashian left "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" after over a decade.
After nearly 18 seasons, the mother of three made the decision to step back from the E! series and focus on her kids and her other interests.
"I have been filming the show non-stop for 14 years … I was feeling unfulfilled and it became a toxic environment for me to continue to have it occupy as much of my life as it was," she told Vogue Arabia in July. 2020. "Privacy is something I have come to value and finding that balance of private moments with being on a reality show is hard."
She said after leaving the show she's going to continue working and put "energy into that which makes me happy."
"I just decided to spend more time as a mom and put more of my energy there," she told People magazine in November 2019, speaking on her decision to step back from the show.
In September 2020, Anna Faris announced her departure from "Mom."
In September 2020, Faris announced that she wouldn't be returning to the CBS comedy "Mom" for its eighth season. Allison Janney would remain as the sitcom's lead.
"The past seven years on 'Mom' have been some of the most fulfilling and rewarding of my career," Faris said in a statement, per The Wrap. "I'm so thankful to Chuck, the writers, and my amazing castmates for creating a truly wonderful work experience. While my journey as Christy has come to an end, allowing me to pursue new opportunities, I'll be watching next season and rooting for my TV family."
Skeet Ulrich decided not to return to "Riverdale" for the show's fifth season.
Skeet Ulrich, who played F.P. Jones on "Riverdale" for multiple seasons, announced he was leaving The CW show in 2020.
According to Comicbook.com, in an Instagram live video, Ulrich said he decided to leave the show because he "got bored creatively."
"Riverdale" creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa told Entertainment Weekly that he's still leaving room for Ulrich to potentially return to the show.
In 2019, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi announced she's "retiring" from "Jersey Shore: Family Vacation." She later came back.
In December 2019, long-time "Jersey Shore" star Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi announced she was "retiring" from the MTV reality show, reported Us Weekly.
"OK, you guys, I love you so much, and don't hate me for my decision, but I have to do what's best for me at the moment, and I am retiring from 'Jersey Shore,'" she said on her podcast,"It's Happening With Snooki & Joey," which she hosts with her friend Joey Camasta.
"I am not coming back to [the show] for a season four, if there is one. And there's a lot of reasons why, but the main reason is really … I'm just like, I just can't do it anymore," she added.
The reality star went on to say that she has tried to quit the show many times and that she really wants to spend more time with her three kids and husband, Jionni LaValle.
She returned to the show in 2021.
Kal Penn left "House" to join the Obama administration.
After playing Dr. Lawrence Kutner on "House" for two seasons, Penn temporarily left Hollywood for the White House in 2007.
When Penn became an associate director for the Obama administration's Office of Public Liaison, his character on "House" was killed off.
Jim Parsons' departure from "The Big Bang Theory" led the series to its final season.
"The Big Bang Theory" star Parsons decided that after 12 seasons it was time for him to say goodbye to Sheldon Cooper and the CBS sitcom.
Even a deal that would have reportedly nabbed the actor more than $50 million over two years couldn't convince the actor to stay.
In a lengthy and heartfelt post on Instagram, Parsons thanked everyone involved with the show, as well as the fans. "I will miss all of you and all of this more than I can say and more than I can know at this time," he wrote.
After his departure was announced, CBS decided it would end "The Big Bang Theory" after 12 seasons, too.
Mischa Barton had enough of playing Marissa Cooper on "The O.C."
After three seasons of drama, Barton was tired of playing Marissa Cooper.
After her character's death, the actress told "Access Hollywood" in 2006, "My character has been through so, so much and there's really nothing more left for her to do."
Later, Barton admitted that she wasn't having a very good time on the show.
"I think I just got to the point where I was like, 'I'm not sure I'm enjoying this anymore,'" she said in a segment taped for "Dancing With the Stars" in 2016.
Christopher Meloni walked away from "Law and Order: SVU" after 12 years.
In May 2011, Meloni decided it was time to turn in his badge and leave Detective Elliot Stabler behind after salary negotiations hit a wall, according to The New York Times.
T.R. Knight made the decision to leave "Grey's Anatomy" after his screen time was drastically reduced.
After five seasons of playing Dr. George O'Malley on "Grey's Anatomy," Knight made the decision to leave the medical drama at the peak of the show's popularity.
In 2009, the actor told Entertainment Weekly that he experienced a "breakdown in communication" with show creator Shonda Rhimes and was upset to see his character receive less screen time.
Dave Chappelle walked away from "The Chapelle Show" and a $50 million deal with Comedy Central because "it didn't feel right."
In 2006, Chappelle left his own successful sketch-comedy show after three seasons.
"And I think that that was a irreconcilable moment for me," he said in a 2017 interview with "CBS This Morning." "That I was in this very successful place, but the emotional content of it didn't feel anything like what I imagined success should feel like. It just didn't feel right."
Adam Brody left a recurring role on "Gilmore Girls" to star on "The O.C."
When Brody was cast as Seth Cohen on "The O.C" it meant leaving behind a recurring role on "Gilmore Girls" as Lane Kim's boyfriend Dave Rygalski.
After Brody left in 2003, his character's departure was explained by having Dave leave for college in California.
David Caruso left "NYPD Blue" four episodes into the show's second season.
In 1994, Caruso famously walked away from cop drama "NYPD Blue" after a little over one season to pursue a film career.
Though some reports said he left after salary negotiations went sour.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Caruso was reportedly asking for $100,000 per episode, which was more than double the $40,000 per episode salary he received for season one.
Topher Grace said he left "That '70s Show" after seven seasons because he didn't need the money.
In 2018, Grace told Indiewire that after portraying Eric Forman for seven seasons he was financially stable enough to leave the show.
"For me, five or six years ago, I looked around at my life and I had just met the woman who is now my wife. I was feeling really confident and good, and it occurred to me that I was really lucky to have been on a sitcom for a lot of years. I realized then that I didn't really need a lot more money," he told the publication in 2018.
Jared Padalecki left "Gilmore Girls" for a lead role on "Supernatural."
"Gilmore Girls" proved to be a great stepping stone for Padalecki, who left the series in 2005 after five seasons when he landed a lead role on "Supernatural."
Jerry Seinfeld famously walked away from a $5 million-per-episode deal to continue starring on "Seinfeld."
After nine seasons of playing a fictionalized version of himself, Seinfeld walked away from his NBC sitcom.
"I wanted to end the show on the same kind of peak we've been doing it on for years," he told The New York Times in 1997. "I wanted the end to be from a point of strength. I wanted the end to be graceful."
Sandra Oh left "Grey's Anatomy" when she felt like she had accomplished everything she wanted to.
After playing Dr. Cristina Yang for 10 seasons, Oh said goodbye to "Grey's Anatomy" in 2013.
In a 2018 interview with Vulture she explained that she "felt like I did all I wanted to do."
"I didn't feel like, 'Ugh, that's all I can do, I've done everything.' It was more than that. It was actually, dare I say it, a sense of satisfaction," she added.