Many undiscovered actors have found their big breaks in Hollywood. The Office, Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, and many other popular shows provided actors with their breakthrough roles. But eventually, these celebrities outgrow their shows and feel the need to move on to new endeavors in an effort to advance their careers, which is frequently a grave error.
It’s not always pleasant when an actor decides to leave a series; in fact, things can turn downright ugly. There are many instances where there is intense tension and conflict between a TV show’s cast and its creators. See which Hollywood actors chose to leave popular shows, and we’ll let you decide if it was a wise move.
Emily Bett Rickards
Emily Bett Rickards’ decision to leave the popular superhero series Arrow wasn’t an easy one. Playing Felicity Smoak, who commands a salary of $40,000 per episode, allegedly took Rickards “seven years of [her] twenties.”
It was extremely difficult to say goodbye because she did feel bad for leaving and disappointing her fans. The need to further develop the character was still outweighed by her enthusiasm for working on other projects. Over the course of seven seasons, Rickards thought she did everything she could as Smoak.
Katherine Heigl, a former cast member of Grey’s Anatomy, has a notoriously bad reputation in Hollywood for being extremely challenging to work with. Despite this, the showrunners of the popular medical drama continued to pay her $30 million per season.
Heigl gained notoriety through Grey’s Anatomy and was able to secure parts in numerous feature films, including the classic comedy Knocked Up. As soon as her demanding schedule on the show began to conflict with all of her starring role offers, she was forced to leave the hospital drama behind.
Few teenagers and young adults didn’t watch The Vampire Diaries when it first came on television. Nina Dobrev, who played Elena to Ian Somerhalder’s Damon, was thought to have quit the show solely as a result of their breakup. The rumor turned out to be completely untrue.
Dobrev’s conviction that her character arc would only be developed over the course of a “six-season adventure” was the real motivation behind her departure. By the time the episode was over, the actress realized Elena’s role had come to an end and there was no need to elaborate.
Emma, a character who was torn between the real world and the secret realm of fairy tales, was played by Jennifer Morrison in the ABC fantasy drama Once Upon A Time. Morrison posted on Instagram in 2017 that she was leaving the show because she wanted to spend more time with her loved ones.
The actress wished she had more time for her personal life and other creative endeavors. In an effort to maintain the overall plot for the show’s large fan base, Morrison and the producers kept their decision a secret for a while.
A generation in the 2000s was captivated by The O.C. Barton eventually got sick of playing Marissa Cooper and decided there were better opportunities outside of the show.
Although the writers would have preferred Marissa to simply relocate to a different town, her character was fatally injured in a terrible automobile accident. Barton fought to remain true to her persona, stating that her character could never be content with such a subdued conclusion. As they watched her death, fans went through a large quantity of tissues.
Family Guy viewers probably aren’t aware that Mila Kunis replaced Lacey Chabert as the voice of the character Meg, the family’s teenage daughter. In season three, Chabert requested that Seth Macfarlane release her from her contract because she simply had too many scheduling conflicts to continue on the show.
At the time, the actress was reportedly still enrolled in school. The actress had a workload that was simply too much for her to bear because, in addition, she was working on the Party of Five filming. It was revealed that even after their breakup, Macfarlane and Chabert are still on good terms, earning a modest $20,000 per episode.
Shameless, which was set in the south side of Chicago, exemplified pretty much everything that America didn’t want to acknowledge as a problem with their society. Prior to her departure, Emmy Rossum, who played the feisty yet compassionate Fiona Gallagher, earned up to $350,000 per episode.
Fiona wouldn’t be written off until nine years into the show. While it was difficult, Rossum has no regrets about moving on after explaining her incredibly personal reasons for leaving through a tear-jerking Facebook post.
It was major news when Dave Chappelle decided to stop hosting Chappelle’s Show. For a third and fourth season, Comedy Central agreed to pay him $50 million, but the comedian unexpectedly left for Africa and was said to have suffered a mental breakdown.
Chappelle has only recently made his eagerly anticipated, triumphant return to the stage and to comedy in general. In interviews, the actor explains that his protracted break occurred because he was going through a “crisis of conscience” due to what he saw going on in Hollywood. Chappelle was actually attacked in May 2022 while performing on stage at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
The exact number of Batman movies that have been released to date is difficult to keep track of. Alongside Christian Bale, Keaton continues to be a fan favorite among other actors. Keaton did fairly well for himself over the course of the franchise, earning an impressive $6 million per movie at the time.
The actor would not appear in the third movie, Batman Forever, and director Joel Schumacher would take Tim Burton’s place. In order to make room for Val Kilmer to don the cape for the following iteration of the Dark Knight, Keaton gracefully retired. Keaton will make a comeback to play Batman in the upcoming film The Flash, much to the delight of fans.
Meghan Markle had a significant role in the legal drama Suits long before she ever became a member of the Royal family. Before she met and fell in love with Prince Harry, Markle spent seven seasons as Rachel Zane on the show. She had no problem agreeing to give up $450,000 a year when he proposed marriage to the man she loved.
She was given a full release from her contract so she could devote herself to her family. Markle and Harry decided to completely distance themselves from the Royal family in 2020 after some controversy involving specific members of the family. They explained their decision in an interview with Oprah in 2021.
On the Transformers set, Megan Fox and director Michael Bay were rumored to frequently argue. She would ultimately be fired for her “difficult” behavior, despite the fact that her reps have claimed it was her decision to leave the set, which she has recently disputed.
Fox claims that Michael Bay gave her no actual acting instructions and only told her to “be hot.” She did receive $1 million in pay, but claims that in exchange for a role in Bad Boys 2, she was made to wash the director’s Ferrari while wearing high heels and an American Flag bikini.
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Some actors would be more than willing to put up with questionable working conditions if they were paid $250,000 an episode. Sophia Bush, who left Chicago P.D. for reasons she would later disclose on a podcast hosted by fellow actor Dax Shephard, was an exception to this rule.
She claims that despite her best efforts to “program” herself to overcome any challenges she faced while filming, she was simply too exhausted to continue. She acknowledged that she enjoyed working on the show, but the fourth season was still the ideal time to leave.
An actor being let go from a show is never pleasant. Nick Cannon’s tenure on Wild ‘N Out, where viewers recently learned that Viacom was forced to act due to controversial comments made on a podcast, demonstrates this. Cannon worked for years as the $70,000 per episode host of the comedy sketch show.
However, his public comments were careless, which ultimately resulted in his firing. The network was forced to remove the actor from his role due to the overwhelming viewer outcry. On July 28, 2020, the last episode was broadcast.
Actress Julianne Moore reportedly left the 2015 film Can You Ever Forgive Me? over purported creative differences. The actual causes of Moore’s departure wouldn’t be made public until 2019 at the earliest.
In an interview with Andy Cohen, the actress acknowledges that Nicole Holofcener fired her. She was reportedly removed from the set before the movie’s filming got underway. According to Moore, she was fired because she refused to use any kind of prosthetics while filming, which was against the terms of her contract.
2019 saw Ruby Rose sign on to star in the first live-action Batwoman series. To play the female counterpart to the adored Batman, the actress was offered an impressive $150,000 per episode. She would, regrettably, only appear for one season.
She had previously become well-known for her work as a supporting cast member on the breakout hit Orange Is The New Black. The actress requested that Viacom/CBS be written off and replaced because she found the demands of the show to be unmanageable. Executives concurred and gave Javicia Leslie, the current Batwoman, the lead role.