Jim Parsons on Ending The Big Bang Theory: “I Played the S–t Out of That Character”

Some may have wondered how Jim Parsons could walk away from the easy money of The Big Bang Theory, but it sounds like it was simply time for him to move on from Sheldon Cooper.  

“I played the s—t out of that character, and some people could have done it longer probably—I don’t mean our show, but this relationship with the character,” Parsons said in a new interview with Variety for their Power of Pride issue. “But I feel like we really wrung that material for what it was.”

12 years is a long time to do any job, but particularly in the entertainment industry. 

“No matter how successful you are,” he said, “even if you’re a huge success in movies, you don’t get to check into the same parking space for 12 years. This is not how someone in a creative profession normally gets to behave. Most human beings crave that structure, so I can see how it causes some hurricanes in the heart.”

Now that The Big Bang Theory is over, Parsons and husband Todd Spiewak have moved from Los Angeles to New York, and Parsons is about to reprise his role in Broadway’s The Boys in the Band in a Netflix adaptation of the show, produced by Ryan Murphy. The Boys in the Band is about a group of gay men coming together for a birthday party, and was groundbreaking when it made its debut in 1968 for its portrayal of gay life. Parsons starred in the 50th anniversary revival in 2018. 

He himself came out publicly in 2012 after meeting Spiewak, five years into The Big Bang Theory. He said pride parades had previously “frightened” him, but coming out changed that. 

“Once it was out in the public, I was like, ‘Well, f—k you! If you still have a problem with gay people, you directly have a problem with me. Being a full-fledged member of it and claiming it, there was just an elation there, and there still is! I still feel it. It’s a huge relief, and it’s also really nice to sometimes be able to feel righteous anger.”

Earlier this year, Parsons talked to THR about leaving Big Bang, and said there was no major factor in his decision to say goodbye.

“It was the first time in my life of doing this show that it occurred to me that I might want to not do another contract after 12 was up,” Parsons said. “I don’t know if it’s because I’m an Aries or just because maybe I’m in touch with myself. Whatever it is, once I had that thought, I was like, well, that’s your answer.” 

The show aired its final episode on May 16 and found Sheldon and Amy (Mayim Bialik) finally winning a Nobel Prize. 

The Big Bang Theory aired on CBS. 

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