Now the 45-year-old, who has won four Emmys and became TV’s highest-paid actor while playing physicist Sheldon Cooper, is rationalizing the surprising decision.
“It’s both as complex and as simple as just feeling innately that it was time,” Parsons told Entertainment Weekly. “It speaks to a lot of things, none of them bad. There is no negative reason to stop doing Big Bang. It felt like we have been able to do this for so many years now, it doesn’t feel like there is anything left on the table. Not that we couldn’t keep doing it, but it feels like we’ve chewed all the meat off this bone.”
He continued: “I guess at a personal level, it feels like the right time in my life. I don’t know what’s next for me. It’s not like there is something specific I am aiming for. I’m firmly in my middle age now. I don’t know how much longer I can wear [the T-shirts] without looking really long in the tooth.”
The actor, who also narrates spinoff Young Sheldon, is now looking forward to new horizons. “In a way, it’s exciting,” he said. “What is this next chapter of life? What is this next chapter for all of us? It will be very, very sad when it does end, even knowing [I am] okay with it. People are okay when they graduate but there are frequently tears at graduation. It’s hard to say goodbye to people that you have worked with for so long.”
Parsons previously reflected on the impending end of The Big Bang Theory in August as he and his costars started filming the show’s 12th and final season.
“It is hard (nearly impossible, actually) to really accept that this is a picture of the first of the final 24 episodes we will shoot for The Big Bang Theory,” he wrote. “I feel very fortunate that we have another 23 episodes to shoot this season because I am hopeful that with each and every one, my level of REALLY accepting this fact will sink in.”
The Big Bang Theory airs on CBS Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET.
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!