Jim Parsons reveals what motivated his decision to leave The Big Bang Theory. In 2018, news broke out the long-running CBS sitcom was ending with 12 seasons. This baffled a lot of fans since the network had just confirmed their intention to order another year of the series. Not long after that, reports revealed that ultimately, The Big Bang Theory was wrapping was because Parsons, who plays Sheldon Cooper, was no longer interested in returning for a potential season 13.
The actor remained mum about his decision for a while. He only really opened up about it after The Big Bang Theory had officially ended in May 2019. He shared that while there’s never really a good time to quit the show considering that the cast and crew have grown incredibly close working together since 2017, Parsons believed they had done everything in The Big Bang Theory. Instead of milking it for the sake of keeping the show on the air, he decided that for him, it was time for it to end.
Now, however, the actor further elaborates on what really motivated him to walk away from the lucrative gig during a recent guest appearance in David Tennant Does A Podcast With…. During his time playing Sheldon Cooper, he and his co-stars became the highest-paid TV stars – a testament to how popular The Big Bang Theory was. However, that wasn’t enough reason for him to continue doing the show, and it turns out that a lot of what was happening elsewhere in his life pushed him to let go of the project, including the death of his beloved dog.
“I was really upset about, more than anything, one of our dogs was getting really at the end of his life around then. As you can tell, it really upset me. Still does.
“I was so beaten down. I walked out for curtain call [on Boys in the Band] and I slipped and I broke my foot. It was the scariest moment for the next couple of days because 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. The bottom line was that it was a really intense summer. The dog passing away, he was 14, and Todd and I had been together for 15 years at that point, so it just was the end of an era.
“I had this moment of clarity that I think you’re very fortunate to get in a lot of ways, of going: ‘Don’t keep speeding by’. You know? ‘Use this time to take a look around’. And I did.
“If you told me that, like my father, I had six years left to live, I think there’s other things I need to try and do. I don’t even know what they are, but I can tell that I need to try.”
From Parsons’ standpoint, it made sense for him to leave The Big Bang Theory. He had played the same character for more than a decade and he wanted to try something else in terms of his career. While having a long-running sitcom provides the financial safety net everyone needs, it also has its drawbacks. Due to a set shooting schedule every year, it’s limiting for actors who might want to try other creative endeavors – be it doing a film, a stage play, or even producing. In the last few years, Parsons may have grown bored of the repetitiveness of The Big Bang Theory; he tried doing other projects such as starring in HBO’s The Normal Heart, Hidden Figures, as well as, the stage play, the Boys in the Band which he mentioned in his explanation.
Since The Big Bang Theory ended, Parsons has broadened his horizons appearing in Netflix’s mini-series, Hollywood. He also reprised his role as Michael in the film adaptation of The Boys in the Band, which is set to release sometime this year. That said, he remains involved in Young Sheldon, which tackles the titular character’s early years of growing up in Galveston, Texas, as an executive producer. While the prequel features Iain Armitage in the role, he also provides the voice of older Sheldon.