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When you think about the cast of The Office, it’s hard not to immediately picture Steve Carell. Though the hit comedy series is a brilliant display of acting and writing by a talented ensemble cast, in many ways, Carell’s Michael Scott was the lifeblood of the show. Michael Scott was equal parts endearing and idiotic, which is why it was so devastating when Carell left The Office after its seventh season.

Steve Carell star of The Office
Steve Carell | Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Michael Scott was one of the show’s most beloved characters

While some diehard fans of The Office refuse to watch the eighth and ninth season of the hit NBC series, the final two seasons are still quite hilarious. But, the absence of Carell is certainly felt throughout the remainder of the series. But just why did Carell choose to leave such a dynamic show? For years, the story has been simply that his contract was up. In the television world, a standard TV contract for actors is seven seasons. As Carell was gaining increasing fame at that time, fans of The Office have always assumed that Carell wanted to leave in order to pursue other acting ventures.

Steve Carell was an integral member of ‘The Office’ cast

But, new evidence has surfaced which makes the claim that Carell never really wanted to leave The Office. Today, on the 15th anniversary of the show’s premiere, Andy Greene released a book entitled “The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s: An Oral History.” The book gives multiple accounts that Carell never truly wanted to leave the show. But if that’s the case, why did it happen?

According to Collider, the trouble apparently started back in 2010 when Carell was giving an interview with BBC. As his contract was nearing its end, he casually mentioned that season seven of The Office would “probably be my last year.” Carell wasn’t certain of that at the time, but as his contract had not yet been renewed, he didn’t have anything else to go on. However, when the NBC executives had no reaction to him saying he was considering leaving, Carell started to question if he should.

The real reason Steve Carell left ‘The Office’

Kim Ferry, who served as the hairstylist for The Office, also recalled that Carell wasn’t ready to say farewell to the show. Apparently, Carell’s manager gave NBC executives the opportunity to re-sign the actor for another year or two and they completely passed the buck.

“He didn’t want to leave the show. He had told the network that he was going to sign for another couple of years. He told his manager and his manager contacted them and said he’s willing to sign another contract. And the deadline came for when [the network was] supposed to give him an offer and it passed and they didn’t make him an offer. So his agent was like, ‘Well, I guess they don’t want to renew you for some reason.’ Which was insane to me. And to him, I think,” Ferry shared about Carell leaving The Office.

You can still binge-watch the show on Netflix

We’re sure fans of The Office are devastated to hear that the final two seasons of The Office could’ve included Carell. He truly brought an unmatched element to the show that simply couldn’t be filled. Personally, we’ll be coping with this new info by watching “Dinner Party” on repeat.