The Devastating Reason Tanya Roberts Left ‘That ’70s Show’ After Season 3

Tanya Roberts was one of the main characters on the FOX comedy series That ’70s Show. It came as a shock to many fans when Roberts didn’t return after season 3. Find out what happened to Roberts and why she stopped playing the role of Donna’s (Laura Prepon) mom on That ’70s Show in season 4. 

Tanya Roberts
Tanya Roberts | Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

Tanya Roberts is a ’70s and ’80s icon 

Victoria Leigh Blum is best known by her stage name, Tanya Roberts. In the early days of her career, Roberts was a model for brands like Excedrin and Clairol beauty products. She also acted in off-Broadway productions like Picnic and Antigone

In 1978, Roberts had a role in the drama Fingers. The following year, she starred in the cult-movie Tourist Trap. Movies like Racket and California Dreaming followed. 

Roberts is best known for replacing Shelley Hack during season 5 of the Charlie’s Angels television series. Later, Roberts would star in movies like The Beastmaster and Murder Me, Murder You. In 1985, Roberts became Bond girl Stacey Sutton in A View to a Kill. Eventually, a new generation of fans came to know Roberts for her role as Donna’s mom on That ’70s Show.  

Tanya Roberts played Midge Pinciotti on ‘That ’70s Show’ 

Roberts was the perfect choice for Mrs. Pinciotti. Midge’s easily-persuaded personality made her lovable, but her dim-wit often embarrassed her daughter, Donna. Throughout the series, Midge was often the center of Eric (Topher Grace) and his friends’ fantasies. Most of the time, she and Bob (Don Stark) were in the company of their neighbors, Red (Kurtwood Smith) and Kitty Forman (Debra Jo Rupp). 

RELATED: ‘That ’70s Show’ Scrapped an LGBTQ Story Arc Featuring Joseph Gordon Levitt

Eventually, Midge’s storyline left her as a dissatisfied housewife. In 2001, That ’70s Show wrote Roberts out of the series, which led to Bob and Midge’s on-screen divorce. While Roberts returned as a guest on That ’70s Show in seasons 6 and 7, her time playing a permanent character on the show was over. 

That ’70s Show may have had a creative way to write Midge Pinciotti out of the series, but Roberts’ reason for leaving was more heartbreaking than being a bored housewife. 

Tanya Roberts left ‘That ’70s Show’ to care for her terminally ill husband 

Roberts was married to Barry Roberts, an actor and writer best known for movies like Legal Tender and the talk show Hour Magazine. According to Us Weekly, Barry’s illness was the driving force behind Tanya’s exit from the series.

She bowed down from her role as Midge Pinciotti to care for her dying husband. They were married in 1974 and together until Barry died in 2006. 

Will Tanya Roberts be in the ‘That ’70s Show’ reboot? 

Many fans and most of the That ’70s Show cast have been talking about a reboot for years. The series may have ended in 2006, but fans are ready for more from the Kenosha, Wisconsin gang. Ideas for a rebooted series or even a movie have been tossed around, but nothing has been confirmed yet. 

Some fans are curious about who from the original cast will return for the That ’70s Show reboot should it become a reality. That includes Roberts. Since leaving the show to care for her husband, Roberts hasn’t done much in the way of acting or guest appearances. As such, it’s unlikely she would return for the That ’70s Show movie or reboot. But at this point, anything is possible!