‘Big Bang Theory’ star Jim Parsons reveals moment of ‘clarity’ that led to his exit from show

Jim Parsons opened up about the “intense summer” that made him realize it was time to step away from his starring role on the beloved CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory.”

The 47-year-old actor played Sheldon Cooper for 12 seasons on the show before ultimately deciding to call it quits — a decision that brought the show to an end in 2019. The actor previously said he simply had the thought that he didn’t want to continue playing the role and realized, “Well, that’s your answer.”

However, during a recent appearance on “David Tennant Does a Podcast With…,” Parsons opened up about what led him to start considering leaving the identity of Sheldon Cooper behind and moving on to new ventures. It turns out that a particularly taxing summer spent in New York City gave him a moment of “clarity.”


Jim Parsons played Sheldon Cooper on 'The Big Bang Theory.'

Jim Parsons played Sheldon Cooper on ‘The Big Bang Theory.’
(Michael Yarish/CBS via AP)

After wrapping Season 11 in the summer of 2018, he relocated to the Big Apple to appear in “The Boys In The Band” on Broadway. In addition, he agreed to film a commercial for Intel. On his way to the commercial shoot, he noticed his dog had become “gravely ill.”

“He just looked so bad and I was so tired and I just started crying,” he told the host, according to People. “I was like, ‘This dog’s going to die while I’m off working and I feel so bad.'”

Unfortunately, after filming the commercial and performing on stage, he and his husband, Todd Spiewak, made the decision to put their dog down due to the pain the canine was in. He spent the next couple of days in a dark place, realizing that something was wrong with his life but not being quite sure of what it was.

To add to the stress, he slipped and broke his foot. Feeling like it was just one negative thing after another for him, Parsons said he had a moment of “clarity” that he needed to make a big change in his life, and departing “Big Bang Theory” was it.

Actor Jim Parsons was honored at the 2018 GLAAD Media Awards.

Actor Jim Parsons was honored at the 2018 GLAAD Media Awards.

“The bottom line was that it was a really intense summer,” he said. “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,” he added. “I was like, ‘I gotta make a move.'”

Upon looking at his life, he recognized that he would be 46 years old by the time Season 12, which he was contractually obligated for, wrapped. He noted that his father was 52 when he died, forcing him to wonder how he wanted to spend the next six years.

“I’m not superstitious or anything like that. It was just a context thing,” he told Tennant.

When he returned to Los Angeles, he broke the news to “Big Bang Theory” writers Chuck Lorre and Steven Molaro that he would not entertain the idea of a Season 13.


Lorre explained that he considered moving the show forward without Sheldon, but ultimately decided not to. Lorre previously found himself in that position when Charlie Sheen was fired from “Two and a Half Men.” He was ultimately replaced by Ashton Kutcher and the show continued for a little longer before taking its final bow in 2015.

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