Jennifer Morrison Makes Statement About Leaving 'Once Upon A Time'

Jennifer Morrison has opened up about her decision to leave behind the world of Storybrook on ABC's Once Upon A Time now that her current contract has ended.

During an interview with Deadline, the 38-year-old actress revealed why she ultimately chose to move on from the beloved fairytale drama after six years.

“I spent six years year on House, a year on How I Met Your Mother and spent 6 years on Once Upon a Time, and collectively that’s 13 years of network schedule, which is an amazing and incredible gift but it’s a grueling schedule,” Morrison said. “I’ve been transitioning into doing more directing, I’ve had some opportunities that I’ve passed up along the years in order to fulfill these network schedules, and I really had to weigh where I was in my life. I’m just at an age and a time in my life where I want to be home, I want to be with my family and my friends, to have a chance to have a personal life for a while, and also wanted to be available to do other creative things.”

Not only did Jennifer Morrison feel that she was ready to make her exit, but also that her character's story had to a good conclusion.

“It just felt like everything had come to a really nice place for Emma, and (Horowitz and Kitsis) had set themselves up to really revamp the show with new people in a really interesting creative way,” Morrison said. “It felt like time for me to come home.”

Jennifer explained that she wanted to wait to break the news to the fans at this specific time as not to cause a distraction to the show.

“(The producers) wanted to be careful to protect especially the musical episode, they wanted to withhold the information for a little while because they didn’t want to spoil the experience of the storytelling for the fans,” Morrison said. “Honestly I think they would’ve loved to have held it until the season finale but it was getting to the point where the information was in the universe and it was about to come out.”

While Jennifer Morrison may be leaving the series, she did reveal that her contract obligations are not entirely complete.

“All I can say is that I only negotiated for one episode, and that’s all I can promise at this point,” she said.

Jennifer Morrison, who portrays Emma Swan, dished on what the fans can expect in the conclusion of Season 6 of Once Upon A Time.

“It’s tough to do that without giving anything away,” Morrison said. “What I can say is that I feel like everything culminates in a way that I feel is very true to Emma’s story and true to everything that she’s been through. I thought (Horowitz and Kitsis), as always, came up with something that was really creative and inventive in terms of what it was that Emma really has to face in order to fight the final battle. I’m very pleased with how they’ve written the character and how they have everything play out in the last couple of episodes.”

Morrison explained that her character definitely left an impact on her and that she will miss portraying Emma Swan on the series.

“It’s very rare that you get to play such a strong smart and vulnerable character,” she said. “I really love that she is a whole person and that she struggles with things, and she fails, and she has the courage to overcome them, fight to be a better person, fight to be vulnerable and to let people in. I’ll miss pretty much everything about her. It’s been truly, truly incredible to have the honor to be Emma for six years.”

Morrison revealed what her favorite episode and scene was from her entire stint on Once Upon A Time.

“It was definitely very special to do the musical episode and have Emma marry Hook in it,” she said. “I think it was such a beautiful culmination of her journey. The scene in the Mayor’s office where she realizes that that song would unleash some power in her to be able to fight the final battle and to have strength against the Black Fairy — I really saw that as her true, true transition from the ugly duckling to the swan, her final step of really embracing who she truly is and truly embracing the power that she has within her. I thought the song was beautiful, I loved that scene, and then I also really loved the wedding scene.

She continued by saying: "When we met Emma six years ago, she was so so guarded that it was so hard to imagine her walking down the aisle so vulnerable, so open and so truly in love and surrounded by her family and all these people she’s been through so much with. I loved to have had the opportunity to play this character who could grow so much in these six years; it gives me a lot of hope for life in general.”

As for her plans for the future, the actress said: "Deep down there is a little part of me that wants to do a period piece, I think that would be fun but it has to be the right project."

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[H/T Deadline]