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‘The Bear’ Star Jeremy Allen White Was in an ‘Upsetting Headspace’ After 10 Years on ‘Shameless’

Jeremy Allen: I Was in an ‘Upsetting Headspace’ After Shameless

A decade of loyalty. Jeremy Allen White is opening up about his experience on Shameless — hinting that the Showtime series may have lived on past its prime.

Related: 'Shameless' Cast: Where Are They Now? Emmy Rossum, Jeremy Allen White, More

“I love Shameless so much. I love everybody that was a part of it, and the experience was incredible,” White, 31, told GQ during an interview published on Monday, July 11. “But I’m not sure if shows are meant to go that long.”

Based on a British TV show of the same name, the family drama premiered in January 2011 with William H. Macy anchoring the cast as patriarch Frank Gallagher. As Frank struggles with alcohol and drug addictions, His children — including White’s character, Phillip “Lip” Gallagher — keep the family afloat both finically and emotionally.

Jeremy Allen: I Was in an ‘Upsetting Headspace’ After Shameless
Jeremy Allen White in ‘Shameless.’ Showtime/Sterling/Wbtv/Kobal/Shutterstock

Over its decade-long run, the dark comedy racked up 15 Emmy nominations, winning four. In January 2020, it was announced that season 11 would be the show’s last.

“One. Last. Hoorah. Shameless season 11: our final season. Thank you @showtime for keeping us employed the last 11 years and letting everyone party with the Gallagher’s, too,” White’s costar Emma Kenney wrote via Instagram at the time. “And thank you guys for sticking with us for so long through all of our ups and downs. This is so bittersweet.”

Kenny and White were among just six cast members who appeared in all 134 episodes of Shameless. The series finale aired in April 2021. 

White explained on Monday that with such a grueling schedule and long episode orders, he began to suffer an identity crisis when it came to his life outside the show.

Related: TV Shows Gone Too Soon: 'Pose,' 'Pitch,' More

“There was a period where I stopped feeling like an actor and I started feeling like I was just here to do this show,” he said. “It was an upsetting head space to be in. When it was going to end, I was questioning: Maybe I do just exist on this show. What else is there? Am I an actor? I was definitely having a lot of doubt.”

Luckily, the New York native was able to channel his pent-up existential dread into his new role on FX’s The Bear. “I think that was something Carmy was really struggling with, too,” he explained. “We kind of found each other at a similar place. He knew he’s really gifted at this thing, but he could be painfully insecure about his abilities as well. I was feeling a little insecure at the end, too.”

Related: Everything the ‘Shameless’ Cast Has Said About Working With Emmy Rossum

The actor plays Carmen Berzatto, a young chef who is faced with the task of overtaking his family​’s Italian restaurant following his brother’s suicide. It’s a role that Allen can’t wait to back into on season 2 — despite his previous exhaustion from Shameless.

“To me, the whole first season feels almost like a prelude to what the show actually is,” he noted of culinary drama.

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