Reneé Rapp and More Stars Who Have Left Their Fame-Making TV Series

Reneé Rapp announced her departure from Max's The Sex Lives Of College Girls, making her the latest star to leave their TV series.

By Tierney Bricker Jul 16, 2023 1:00 AMTags
Watch: Reneé Rapp is Leaving The Sex Lives of College Girls

And that's an unexpected wrap on Rapp.

The Sex Lives of College Girls fans were left stunned when star Reneé Rapp announced her early departure from the Max series July 10. Rapp—who portrayed Essex College student Leighton on the first two seasons in her debut acting role—is officially moving on from her character, with co-creator Mindy Kaling confirming her exit on social media. 

"We love @reneerapp so much and of course will be so sad to say goodbye to Leighton Murray!" Kaling wrote on her Instagram Stories before referencing Rapp's thriving music career. "We can't wait to see our friend on tour!!"

Rapp also publicly acknowledged her departure on social media. "College Girls moved me out to LA and introduced me to some of my favorite people," she wrote. "2 and a half years later—it's given me y'all and this community."

While Rapp's announcement was surprising, it wasn't unprecedented as she is just the latest TV star to stage an early exit from their hit series.

Renewed and Canceled TV Shows 2023 Guide

Earlier this year, Grey's Anatomy fans saw Ellen Pompeo scrub in for the latest time as a series regular, while The Witcher is prepping to say goodbye to  its leading man Henry Cavill

Look back on some of TV's most shocking exits:

Reneé Rapp, The Sex Lives of College Girls

Ahead of The Sex Lives of College Girls' third season, Reneé Rapp announced she would be leaving the Max series. 

"College Girls moved me out to LA and introduced me to some of my favorite people," she wrote on social media July 10. "2 and a half years later—it's given me y'all and this community."

The show's co-creator Mindy Kaling also confirmed Rapp's exit. "We love @reneerapp so much and of course will be so sad to say goodbye to Leighton Murray!" Kaling wrote on her Instagram Stories before referencing Rapp's thriving music career. "We can't wait to see our friend on tour!!"

Ellen Pompeo, Grey's Anatomy

After 19 years as Meredith Grey, Ellen Pompeo scrubbed in for the last time as a series regular on the ABC drama in the Feb. 23 episode. 

"I gotta mix it up a little bit," Pompeo explained on The Drew Barrymore Show in December of last year, though she has already returned for a May guest appearance and continues narrating the series. "I'm 53, my brain is like scrambled eggs. I gotta do something new. You can't do The New York Times crossword puzzle every single day."

Henry Cavill, The Witcher

Batman vs. Superman star Henry Cavill revealed he would be stepping away from the Netflix fantasy drama after its third season—with the announcement that Liam Hemsworth will assume the role of Geralt for season four, and potentially beyond.

"My journey as Geralt of Rivia has been filled with both monsters and adventures," Cavill wrote on Instagram in October of last year. "Alas, I will be laying down my medallion and my swords for Season 4."

Jesse Lee Soffer, Chicago P.D.

Original castmember Jesse Lee Soffer turned in his badge in 2022, saying goodbye to his beloved character Detective Jay Halstead role after 10 seasons.

"To create this hour drama week after week has been a labor of love by everyone who touches the show," Soffer said in a statement after his final appearance in the NBC procedural's Oct. 5 episode. "I will always be proud of my time as Det. Jay Halstead."

Damian Lewis, Billions

After five seasons, Damian Lewis departed Showtime's Billions in Oct. 2021.

Emily VanCamp, The Resident

In Aug. 2021, it was reported that Emily VanCamp hung up her stethoscope for good as she had exited Fox's The Resident.

Madeleine Mantock, Charmed

One of the Charmed ones is saying goodbye. Madeleine Mantock, who has played eldest sister Macy for three seasons, is exiting the CW's Charmed reboot ahead of season four. She said it was her "difficult decision" to leave and thanked producers for supporting her choice. 

Megan Boone, The Blacklist

Turns out Elizabeth Keen never will find out the truth about Raymond Reddington's identity. Megan Boone chose to leave NBC's The Blacklist at the end of season eight, and of course her character was killed off before she had the chance to read the letter that would have revealed everything. Boone marked the end of Liz's journey with an Instagram post in which she called the experience "a dream." 

Rege-Jean Page, Bridgerton

Season two of Bridgerton will be down one duke. Rege-Jean Page became the breakout star of Netflix's massive hit drama, and then broke hearts all over the place when it was announced that he would not be returning for the second season. However, fans can rest a little easier knowing he wouldn't have been the star anyway, as the second season is shifting focus (as the books do) to Anthony Bridgerton, played by Jonathan Bailey. Meanwhile, Page is starring in high-profile Netflix movie The Grey Man with Chris Evans and Ryan Gosling, so we'll be seeing him again soon no matter what. 

Ruby Rose, Batwoman

Rose played the titular role of Batwoman, aka Kate Kane, in the CW drama. She made her debut in 2018's Arrowverse crossover and then starred in one season of the series—making history as the first lesbian superhero to headline their own show, as Batwoman came out of the closet in a major TV moment—before announcing her exit just two days after the season one finale aired. The role was eventually replaced with Javicia Leslie as Ryan Wilder, a new character set to take control of the Batcave in season two. 

Later on in season two, Kate got a bit of a face swap and returned played by Wallis Day.

America Ferrera, Superstore

America Ferrera decided to exit Superstore at the end of season five, leaving Cloud 9 without a manager and the show without a lead. She ended up appearing in the first two episodes of season six due to the pandemic, and then when season six was deemed the end, she returned for the series finale to give Amy and Jonah (Ben Feldman) the happy ending they deserved. 

Jason Ralph, The Magicians

In the season four finale of the Syfy series, Ralph's character Quentin completed his quest to save Eliot (Hale Appleman), but sacrificed himself in the process. While the show does feature dead characters—it's called The Magicians after all—Ralph did not return for the fifth and final season.

Emily Bett Rickards, Arrow

Ahead of the final season, Arrow's Rickards announced her exit in a poem of sorts.

"Felicity and I
are a very tight two
But after one through seven
we will be saying goodbye to you," she wrote.

She did, however, return for a guest appearance in the show's series finale.

Lauren Cohan, The Walking Dead

Cohan said see you later to The Walking Dead following prolonged contract negotiations. She appeared in a handful of season nine episodes, but after a six-year time jump her character Maggie Greene was nowhere to be seen. Producers were hopeful she'd return in some capacity for season 10, and after her short-lived ABC series Whiskey Cavalier was canceled, they got their wish. Cohan made her grand return in this season's 16th episode, which aired in October 2020.

Danai Gurira, The Walking Dead

Hot on the heels of Lauren Cohan and Andrew Lincoln bidding farewell to the zombie drama came Gurira's exit. After joining the AMC series in season three as the katana-wielding Michonne, she made her last appearance in a season 10 episode which aired in March 2020.

Nicollette Sheridan, Dynasty

A recurring player in season one and series regular in season two, Sheridan starred as the iconic character Alexis Carrington. She announced plans to exit the CW reboot ahead of season three to spend time with her ailing mother.

George Eads, MacGyver

Eads exited the CBS remake in 2019, midway through season three. At the time, he expressed his desire to leave and spend more time with his family.

Damon Wayans, Lethal Weapon

Fox's Lethal Weapon is no stranger to cast exit drama. Clayne Crawford was fired from the series after the second season and his former TV partner Wayans announced his plans to exit the hit drama after the 13-episode third season. "I'm going to be quitting the show in December after we finish the initial 13, so I really don't know what they're planning, but that's what I'm planning," he said. "I'm a 58-year-old diabetic and I'm working 16-hour days… Murtaugh said, ‘too old for this.'"

Producers didn't need to work on a replacement plan, though. The show was canceled at the end of season three.

Cameron Monaghan, Shameless

Ian Gallagher went to the slammer. When Monaghan left Shameless during its ninth season, his character was locked up. In reality, Monaghan was ready to explore new projects after nine years on the show. But, in a true TV twist, he went ahead and signed on to return for season 10 anyway. He'll be present and accounted for when the show returns for its 11th and final season in December 2020.

Emmy Rossum, Shameless

After nine seasons as Fiona Gallagher, Rossum announced plans to leave Shameless.

"Emmy Rossum will forever be part of the Shameless family," executive producer John Wells said in a statement. "She has been integral to the show's success, from her wonderful portrayal of Fiona to her leadership role on set, as well as directing multiple episodes of the series. We are hard at work now creating a season nine finale for Shameless which we hope will provide a Gallagher-worthy sendoff for Fiona that honors the great work Emmy has done. It is always bittersweet when an ensemble member decides to move out of the proverbial house, but our door will always remain open for Fiona to return home for a visit, or to move back in. I look forward to continuing the stories of this wildly unpredictable family and all of us on Shameless will miss Emmy and her wonderful Fiona."

Chelsea Peretti, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Peretti appeared in Brooklyn Nine-Nine when it made its NBC debut, but she didn't stick around for the whole run. In a series of tweets in 2018, the actress announced her plans to leave the comedy, but maintained she would be back. She even used Emmy Rossum's farewell letter to Shameless as the basis of her own. Peretti welcomed a son with husband Jordan Peele in 2017. Her character was on maternity leave and sat out several episodes in season five.

Andrew Lincoln, The Walking Dead

Andrew Lincoln said goodbye to the blood, sweat and dirt of the zombie apocalypse and left The Walking Dead during season nine. "These guys have been the best surrogate family I could have hoped for. But I do have a real family and it is time for me to go home," Lincoln said at San Diego Comic-Con. He is, however, due to reprise the role in a film trilogy sometime in the future.

Pauley Perrette, NCIS

After 15 years, Pauley Perrette hung up her lab coat and left NCIS in 2018. "I believe in God and the universe so firmly, and it just suddenly became blindingly apparent that now was the time," she said. "After a lot of thought, I decided to announce it myself on Twitter because I didn't want it to be turned into anything 'shocking. Abby leaving is more than a cheap TV ploy."

Willa Holland, Arrow

Original cast member Holland's exit from The CW's Arrow had been in the works for a while, boss Marc Guggenheim told TVLine. She asked to have her episode count reduced and then to be written out in season six. Her departure just happened to coincide with the return of Thea's boyfriend, Roy (Colton Haynes), and so they headed off into the sunset together to destroy the dangerous Lazarus Pits that her late father had discovered. 

Grace Park, Hawaii Five-0

Park, who shot to fame on Battlestar Galactica, left Hawaii Five-0 ahead of its eighth season. She and costar Daniel Dae Kim left after negotiations to reach pay parity with their co-stars failed.

Daniel Dae Kim, Hawaii Five-0

Kim and his costar Grace Park left the CBS drama in between seasons seven and eight. In a Facebook post, Kim said the choice to leave was difficult, and that he made himself available to come back, but "CBS and I weren't able to agree to terms on a new contract."

Sophia Bush, Chicago PD

Season four of the NBC drama ended with Bush's character entertaining a job offer in New York with the FBI, taking her out of the titular Windy City. In December 2018, the actress explained that she quit the series after "a consistent onslaught barrage of abusive behavior."

T.J. Miller, Silicon Valley

After four seasons on the HBO comedy, Miller departed, calling it an "organic ending." He told Entertainment Weekly, "Also, in a weird way, it's interesting to me to leave a show at its height. It's interesting to me to see how the show will grow and change with the exit of this character."

Erinn Hayes, Kevin Can Wait

After just one season on the CBS comedy, there was quite a shakeup afoot. Hayes, who played wife to Kevin James, left as part of a creative shakeup. However, from the sounds of her tweet, it wasn't a mutual decision. "True, I've been let go from the show. Very sad, I had a great experience season 1," Hayes said on Twitter. "Thank you for all the support from our wonderful fans."

Kevin then moved on, in a way, with former King of Queens costar Leah Remini. CBS then moved on and canceled the show altogether.

Jennifer Morrison, Once Upon a Time

Emma Swan left Storybrooke early. Jennifer Morrison announced her departure from Once Upon a Time, but then appeared in an episode of the rebooted series in season seven to help say goodbye to her character, who simply went off to have a happy ending in a different universe. She later returned for the series finale to help say goodbye to her show.

View More Photos From TV's Most Shocking Exits: Stars Who Left Hit Shows
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