Why Farrah Fawcett Left Charlie's Angels

Farrah Fawcett was arguably one of the best parts of the classic 1970s series, Charlie's Angels. But she left the show after just one season, leaving many fans wondering what had happened. The late actor (Fawcett died in 2009) never commented on the reason for her departure, but plenty of people have speculated about it over the years.

When Fawcett left Charlie's Angels, she was replaced by Cheryl Ladd, though she still returned as a guest star in the show's third and fourth seasons. Fawcett got sued for breach of contract (to the tune of $7 million!), but she still moved on from the show, according to People. "The whole lawsuit almost sank me," Fawcett told People in 1979. "The industry was furious with me and hostile because I was a TV sex symbol who wanted to be an actress. People thought I was really pretentious, and for months no one would touch me."

Of course, Fawcett went on to be known for more than that iconic red swimsuit poster. She acted in many movies after leaving the show, including The Cannonball Run and Extremities. Although it's impressive Fawcett was able to succeed outside of Charlie's Angels, some people still wonder: Why did she leave to begin with? Here are some of the commonly cited reasons Fawcett left the series.

Farrah Fawcett may have wanted to pursue other projects

One reasonable theory about Farrah Fawcett's Charlie's Angels departure is that she wanted to focus on her film career. And author Mike Pingel, who was Fawcett's assistant for two years, corroborated this suggestion in an interview with Closer Weekly in 2019.

"At that point, I think she was, like, 'I'm pretty good at doing something like this,'" Pingel told Closer. "Farrah was wanting to expand her acting. The progression came, and at the end of the first season, she wanted more as an actress. People are going to hate me for saying this, but she was done with the 'cookie-cutter' Jill Munroe, the beautiful girl that episode after episode did the same thing."

And in a January 1977 interview with The Washington Post, before she left the show, Fawcett said that she wanted to make a "picture with real woman's emotions." Movies were always an ambition of Fawcett's, and leaving the show apparently helped her pursue that goal.

Did Farrah Fawcett's marriage to Lee Majors play a role?

During her time on the show, Fawcett was married to actor Lee Majors, star of The Six Million Dollar Man. Fans have speculated that the stars' busy schedules posed a challenge to their relationship, though there's no evidence it had anything to do with her leaving the series.

"When Lee married me, he married a very compliant person who just wanted to cook his meals, clean his house and be dependent," Fawcett told People in 1979. "I still like to cook his meals and clean his house, but I'm not dependent anymore."

Jack Condon, a co-author of The Charlie's Angels Casebook, also cited Fawcett and Majors' marriage in a 2019 interview with Closer Weekly. "It was Lee Majors who wanted her to leave the show because she was working too many hours and he didn't think it was necessary for her to be on the set every day for the amount of money she was making," Condon told the magazine. "Farrah was only making, at the time, $5,000 an episode and I think Lee Majors might've been making $40,000 an episode for The Six Million Dollar Man. So he thought the money wasn't worth all her time away from him." It's worth noting that Fawcett and Majors split in 1979, just two years after she left the show, per Entertainment Weekly.

Whatever the reason, it sounds like leaving Charlie's Angels was the best decision for Fawcett.