When Sophia Bush left Chicago P.D. at the end of season 4, she gave no explanation to fans — and isn’t quite ready to do so, yet. However, during a podcast interview on Monday, December 18, the actress reveals a bit more about saying goodbye.
“I don’t have to give everyone the specific breakdown of exactly why I left until I’m ready to do that. But, the overarching theme for me was that I landed my dream job. I landed this job that, since I was 20 years old and trying to become an actor, I said I wanted. And aspects of it, don’t get me wrong, were wonderful,” she said on Refinery 29’s UnStyled podcast, adding she knew after season 2 she couldn’t continue the job. However, she didn’t know how to leave what she considered her “dream job.”
“A year later, when I sat my bosses down — it was in the summer between seasons 3 and 4 — and I said, ‘Here’s where we are. Here’s everything you’re aware of. Here’s how I’m coming to you today. If something really drastic doesn’t change, I’m leaving at the end of the year’ — because I understand how the business works and how women are treated — I said, ‘I’m giving you not two weeks notice and I’m not coming in here throwing s–t and breaking lamps and saying I’m never coming back. I’m giving you 23 episodes notice. I’m giving you that much time. So there will be no conversation in which I was hysterical, emotional, in which I was being a quote irrational female or whatever you want to put on it. I’m literally sitting in front of you like cool as a cucumber. If this has to be like a big swinging d— competition, I promise you I will win. But know this now: if we’re not having a very different conversation by Christmas, then you know with 100 percent certainty in December that come the end of April I’m leaving,'” she continued.
Calling the conversation “liberating,” she revealed that following the meeting she felt as though “steel anvils” had just been lifted off of her chest.
“It was then that I realized I’d been drowning. It was then that I knew just how miserable I was going to work every day,” she said, adding that she was close to many people on set, which helped — but ultimately, she couldn’t stay for them.
“What you start to realize is that like if your house was burning down, you wouldn’t hang out inside because your brother was in there and you loved him. You’d be like, ‘Yo, I love you. Let’s get out of this house!'” she explained. “For me, not to put it on anybody else, but for me it felt like I was trapped in a burning building. I was just so unhappy and it was my dream job and I was miserable and I had to go.”
Bush also admitted it was hard for her to see the fan reaction when she left the show without notice. Many got angry and demanded she give a reason for her departure. Ultimately, she had to ignore them. “I had to respect myself in a situation where I didn’t feel respected,” she said.
Chicago P.D. airs on NBC Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET.