Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki and other alums of the CBS sitcom recalled their feelings about the situation in Jessica Radloff‘s new book, The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series. Showrunner Steve Molaro claimed that Parsons, 49, believed the show could continue without him as Sheldon, but producers felt differently.
“There was never a question about continuing on without him,” Molaro, 50, explained in the oral history. “The show was this ensemble and the thought of doing some strange version without him didn’t seem right.”
When the Emmy winner announced his exit from the show in August 2018, it meant that the comedy’s then-upcoming 12th season would be its last. Once he made his decision, Molaro and cocreator Chuck Lorre held a meeting with the cast where they allowed Parsons to tell everyone that he’d decided to leave before revealing that his departure would also bring the show to a close after 12 seasons.
“There was a lot of crying in the room. Kaley, in particular,” Lorre, 69, recalled in the book. “It was a blow. And there was no way to soften it by giving them a heads-up. I didn’t know any other way to do it.”
At the time, several cast members publicly shared their thoughts about the show ending. Cuoco, 36, said that her heart had “broken in two” over the news. “This ride has been a dream come true and as life changing as it gets,” she wrote via Instagram in August 2018. “Drowning in tears, we promise to bring you the best season yet.”
Mayim Bialik, for her part, addressed the situation on her blog, telling fans that she wanted to keep “bringing joy” to viewers for as long as possible. “Am I happy? Of course not,” the Blossom alum, 46, wrote at the time. “This has been my job since Melissa Rauch and I joined the cast as regulars in season 4. I love my job. I love my castmates, and I feel such appreciation for our incredible crew, our brave writers, our entire staff, and our amazing fans.”
Several months before the series finale aired in May 2019, Parsons explained that he wanted to leave the show because he felt “innately that it was time” to move on. “There is no negative reason to stop doing Big Bang,” he told Entertainment Weekly in January 2019. “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.”
The actor — who narrates the spinoff series Young Sheldon — also said he felt like he was getting a bit too old to play Sheldon. The Texas native was 46 when the series finale aired.
“I’m firmly in my middle age now,” he explained. “I don’t know how much longer I can wear [the T-shirts] without looking really long in the tooth.”
Keep scrolling for the Big Bang Theory cast’s reaction to Parsons’ departure.