Spanning 12 seasons, CBS' The Big Bang Theory became one of television's most beloved sitcoms due in large part to the show's hilarious motley crew of nerdy, comedic talents, including Jim Parsons. Though Parsons' character, Sheldon Cooper, is one of the most memorable parts of the entire show and the role he is probably best known for (the character even got his own spin-off series), after 279 and episodes and being on the air for almost 12 years, there comes a time when you simply just have to move on.
During a recent appearance on Doctor Who actor David Tennant's podcast, David Tennant Does a Podcast With…, Parsons talks about the emotional journey he took when deciding to finally stop doing The Big Bang Theory after more than a decade of filming.
"Our final contract was for the last two years, but no one knew when we signed it what that would mean. I kind of had a suspicion in my heart that that was going to be it for me when I did sign that contract, but you never say never and who knows," Parsons revealed. "I was exhausted, and I was really upset about, more than anything, one of our dogs was getting really at the end of his life around then."
Talking more about juggling his hectic schedule of filming Big Bang, starring in the Broadway production of The Boys in the Band, and coping with the loss of his beloved pet dog, he continued:
"It was the scariest moment for the next couple of days because I didn’t know — I felt like I was at the edge of a cliff, and I was teetering, and I saw something really dark below between the death of the dog, and I don’t know what they would have done if I couldn’t have gotten back on for the play."
Finally, Parsons' a-ha moment about his future on the series came when he realized that at the end of his final contract he would be 46 years old, only a few years younger than his father who passed away at 52.
"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," Parsons said. "This is what I said to Chuck Lorre and Steve Molaro when I talked to them when I went back to work next year. I said, 'If you told me that like my father, I had six years left to live, I think there’s other things I need to try and do.'"
Parsons also opened up to Tennant about his public coming out in 2012 in a New York Times interview about his role in Broadway's Larry Kramer drama The Normal Heart and his relationship with the press as a gay actor.
"That was my last hurdle coming out. The press," Parsons said when Tennant talks about queer actors being labeled "de facto an activists" by the media. "I knew that 'you’ll be a gay actor from here on out.'"
"Now, looking back, not only has it not been a bad thing for me, it’s been the opposite and a great thing for me."