Sophia Bush on quitting Chicago P.D.: I was so unhappy and felt trapped

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Sophia Bush surprised fans when she announced back in May that she was leaving Chicago P.D. after four years on the NBC drama series, where she played Detective Erin Lindsey. The 35-year-old actress, who you might better remember from One Tree Hill, has finally broken her silence on what led her to leave the show.

Back in October, the actress and longtime social advocate addressed fans’ criticisms by way of the comments section on a post announcing her development deal with 20th Century Fox. As Hecate shared back when it happened, Sophia responded to a comment on that post by stating, “Took me a long time and a lot of hard work to get out of that show. Please don’t demean my capabilities by degrading my position. I left because I wanted to. End of story.”

Sophia appeared on the UnStyled podcast earlier this week and elaborated further on her departure, although she still didn’t delve into the specifics of why she left. Here are some excerpts from her interview:

Why did you end your contract?
“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…. and aspects of it, don’t get me wrong, were wonderful. But, I realized by the end of the second season I couldn’t do that job anymore.

“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— 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.’

“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!’”

“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.”

When do you feel like you’ll be ready to tell your fans more about that?
“I don’t have any personal life drama….I don’t care if you’re pissed; it’s not your life. You know? So, in a way, you sort of have to laugh. But also, it is tough to read thousands and thousands of comments of people; them just being, like, ‘You have no respect for us and you didn’t tell us,’ and it’s like, you know what? I had to respect myself in a situation where I didn’t feel respected.”

[From Refinery 29 Podcast, some quotes via People and Entertainment Weekly]

After the broadcast, UnStyled host, Refinery29 co-founder and global editor-in-chief Christene Barberich, posted a photo with Sophia and gushed about her, calling her “hilarious and one of the most curious and caring women I’ve ever met.” Sophia shared the post with her followers, adding “Sometimes a friend writes about you in a way that just absolutely floors you…My heart practically burst when I read this today.”

Sometimes a friend writes about you in a way that just absolutely floors you… My heart practically burst when I read this today, Christene. I’m so honored to know you, and thrilled to have been on #UnStyled! Podcast pals, enjoy! As she said, there is NO holding back. #Repost @christenebarberich ・・・ Well, today is IT: The Season 2 finale episode of the #unstyledpodcast (how did we get here SO FAST??), and I couldn’t be more proud to have the actor/activist/powerhouse @sophiabush on today to talk about such an incredibly pivotal time in her life (and the world). I’m sure you’ve loved and followed Sophia for as long as I have, but it’s been even more moving and motivating to watch her raising the stakes to deepen her impact across a variety of critical agendas, from gun reform to reproductive health to the environment, wielding her massive platform to drive real change. She also happens to be hilarious and one of the most curious and caring women I’ve ever met. We really get into it on this episode (NO holding back!) and much of our discussion shines a bright light on the conversations that shaped this year and will undoubtedly frame our focus in 2018…so tune in to hear Sophia at her finest, stepping in to her power in a BIG WAY…i am grateful to her and all my extraordinary guests this season, who challenged me to pay attention, listen, and learn more about the remarkable experiences of women everywhere, living with courage and strength. And to all our #UnStyled listeners, I ❤️ and thank you for rooting us on and being there in the studio with us, holding our feet to the fire to make a podcast Worth your time, your comments, your encouragement. Stay tuned for updates on surprise episodes in 2018 leading to Season 3, too ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. #unstyled

A post shared by Sophia Bush (@sophiabush) on

Some sources suspect that Sophia’s Chicago P.D. co-star, Jason Beghe, may have plated a role in her decision to leave. The actor had to undergo anger management treatment after displaying “inappropriate behavior” on set and has since apologized, releasing a statement that said, in part, “I have personally apologized to anyone who I have upset, and I am committed to doing what is necessary to make up any damage that I may have caused.” Too little, too late, Jason? Whatever the reason she left, she’s brave for speaking out and I admire her taking a stand for what she felt was wrong.

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12 Responses to “Sophia Bush on quitting Chicago P.D.: I was so unhappy and felt trapped”

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  1. African Sun says:

    Don’t have a searing intellectual comment to add here but I loved Sophia in One Tree Hill (far superior to the OC) and I love her style as well. I would be interested to see where she goes next in her career. And she does not age, I cannot!

    • Lyka says:

      I was scrolling through the channels in high school and stopped dead when I saw her on the screen. I remember being like, “Oh, this is the most beautiful woman there is. This is definitely her.” Lol.

      I mean, she’s beautiful, but I have no clue why I was so enamored with her as a teen. I’ve never seen her in OTH or literally anything else. But even in its vagueness, the way she described the sitch at Chicago P.D. seems real shady (she was anticipating the bosses would throw her under the bus for hysteria, for pete’s sake). It’s good she extracted herself.

  2. marc kile says:

    I know nothing about the situation but was someone harassing her on the show?

  3. Nicole says:

    So upsetting that she has dealt with harassment on both of her shows. I’m glad she left and stood her ground but she shouldn’t have to

  4. Bridget says:

    Can we talk about the fact that Beghe wasn’t fired? What the hell is that? Anger management for “inappropriate behavior on set”? If we’re surmising correctly, it was bad enough that Sophia gave an entire year’s notice and he was still awful.

  5. Anna says:

    I think Sophia has also had a difficult time with her personal life while she was on the show. During the first or second second season her ex-boyfriend died in that big avalanche in the Himalayas and then she dated her costar Jesse and they broke up. I doubt this contributed to anything but it didn’t help either.

    Jason Beghe is an ex-Scientologist and he doesn’t seem very close to the cast at all. They’re always posting together on Instagram and he never really participates

  6. Squidgy says:

    I don’t know anything about this show, this actor or this situation and I haven’t learned anything after I read her comments! It’s funny to see how people in America, even after they take a stand, will dance around the real issue and use as many code words as possible but NEVER just say outright what the hell happened. Just be RoseMcGowan and say it like it is!

    • Lyka says:

      Meh, I honestly think it’s just self-protection (and maybe a bit of an actor-y thing). She’s using enough code for harassment and toxic workplace stuff that even mildly observant people will get it – and this way she’s less likely to get roasted for defamation or something by people with far more money and lawyers than her.

    • Casey._. says:

      I agree with this….

      Which reminds me, wasn’t Uma planning to discuss whatever has ‘angered’ her so much re Harvey Weinstein, to make that ‘bullet’ comment?

      Talk about dragging some ish out. Well she did say she hoped his torture would be slow.

    • Bridget says:

      First off, you have no idea what she’s even allowed to discuss, professionally. Sophia had to actively work to get out of a contract and we don’t know the ins and outs of that. Not to mention, it’s bad form to bad mouth your former employer.

      And I’m sick of this “oh Americans are so weird”. It’s not cool to treat any group of people as some monolithic entity.

  7. Lala says:

    I like that she uses a burning building analogy. Didn’t Chicago PD get themselves locked in a burning building twice in one season? Like two separate occasions – two buildings, each with its own fire. I could be wrong… didn’t re-watch.