Kaley Cuoco recently shared how she learned that Jim Parsons was leaving The Big Bang Theory. The actors were two of the five original cast members of the CBS series before they expanded it in season 4 with the arrival of Mayim Bialik as Amy and Melissa Rauch as Bernadette. Cuoco recently opened up and revealed details about the day Parsons first announced he was leaving the long-running show that he had been a part of since day one.
In 2018, CBS announced the popular sitcom was ending with 12 seasons, despite still being a ratings powerhouse. What made this more surprising was that not too long before this development, executives announced that they were having internal talks about green-lighting another season. Ultimately, it boiled down to Parsons, who played Sheldon, wanting to move on from the project and try other endeavors. Instead of moving forward without arguably The Big Bang Theory‘s true main lead, the show makers decided to end the show altogether, giving the Pasadena gang a fitting send-off.
Almost two years after the show wrapped up, Cuoco recalls how she and the rest of the cast learned of Parsons’ decision in a new interview with Variety. According to the actress, co-creator Chuck Lorre called a meeting and they were convinced that it was for The Big Bang Theory season 13. That’s why she was “in a state of shock” upon realizing what was happening. Cuoco adds that during the meeting, “everyone had their open feelings, and there were questions and tears.” She elaborates further:
Jim said, ‘I don’t think I can continue on.’
And I was so shocked that I was literally like, ‘Continue on with what?’ Like, I didn’t even know what he was talking about. I looked at Chuck: ‘Wow. I thought we were — I’m so blown away right now.’
It was Lorre who spearheaded the idea that there was no way they were moving forward with The Big Bang Theory without the complete cast, and all of them agreed on that sentiment. While the cast was known for their camaraderie, particularly when negotiating pay packets, it also made no sense to continue without Sheldon. Aside from the fact that he is the central character in the series, his leaving would have meant that Amy would’ve also had to go, considering the fact that the characters were married. It would have made very little sense for Sheldon to suddenly leave Pasadena, considering the strong bond he had with his friends, particularly Leonard and Penny, and his aversion to change.
Surprisingly, despite an uneven final season, The Big Bang Theory was able to deliver a poignant and satisfying finale. Sheldon and Amy won their Nobel Prize in Physics, while the Hofstadters revealed the exciting news that they were pregnant. In the real world, most of the main cast has moved on to various other projects. Cuoco, for her part, didn’t waste time jumping on a new project as the star and producer of HBO Max’s The Flight Attendant. Considering the positive reviews and Golden Globe nomination, she recently said that The Big Bang Theory ending when it did was a blessing in disguise.