The Office: Why did Steve Carrell leave The Office?

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Steve Carell played Dunder Mifflin manager Michael Scott for seven seasons of the hit American comedy. Starting out as the US version of David Brent, viewers followed his character through ups and downs as the head of the paper company. However, Carell departed in season seven, which has left some wondering why he exited the hilarious sitcom.

Why did Steve Carell leave The Office?

Fans of The Office were devastated when Michael left Scranton behind back in season seven.

In his final episodes, he decided to move to be with his future wife Holly Flax (played by Amy Ryan) in Colorado.

While it was a beautiful goodbye to the much-loved character, some viewers were left wondering why he was leaving.

News first came of Carell’s decision to exit in an interview with BBC Radio about his film Date Night in 2010.

He was asked if he planned to stay on the show after his contract ended in season seven.

Carell replied: “I don’t think so. I think that will probably be my last year.”

However, this might not be the whole story as there remains some confusion about the real reason for his exit from the show.

A March 2020 book called The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s revealed more.

Sound Mixer Brian Wittle and hairstylist Kim Ferry revealed how while Carell mentioned he might leave the show in the interview with the BBC, this was not a done deal.

Apparently, he had not made a definite decision by this point but when NBC did not try to convince him to stay, he left.

Ferry told Andy Greene: “He didn’t want to leave the show.

“He had told the network that he was going to sign for another couple of years.

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“He was willing to and his agent was willing to. But, for some reason, they didn’t contact him.”

Of course, Carell himself has not commented on this, so it’s difficult to know if it is true.

However, the star did reveal it was a difficult decision to walk away from the show and how tough he found filming his final scenes.

He said on the An Oral History of The Office podcast in August: “It was almost more than I bargained for…

“I had [goodbye] scenes with everyone in the cast and it was emotional torture.

“It was just fraught with emotion and joy and sadness and nostalgia – but it was also really beautiful.

“I treasure doing that episode because it did allow me to have a finality with everybody.”

Thankfully for fans, Carell returned for the series finale episode to be there for Dwight Schrute’s (Rainn Wilson) and Angela Martin’s (Angela Kinsey) wedding.

In an emotional twist for fans, he served as best man to his former assistant to the regional manager.

Since leaving the comedy, Carell has also gone on to some huge projects, including films like Foxcatcher and The Big Short.

Recently he appeared alongside John Malkovich in Netflix comedy Space Force.

He will also soon be coming back for the second series of the critically acclaimed The Morning Show as Mitch Kessler.

The Office US is streaming on Amazon Prime Video now.

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