Did Pauley Perrette Retire From Acting?

Sure, Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs may be the first character fans and casual viewers of “NCIS” think of when it comes to the CBS drama, but with an unconventional look and a memorable, peppy personality, Abby Sciuto remains at the heart of the long-running series. Pauley Perrette’s character broke the stereotype of goth and alternative folk throughout the aughts as one very capable forensic scientist and easily became a fan favorite.

However, Perrette announced she would be leaving “NCIS” in 2017 via Twitter, debunking rumors about having a skin care line and that the show creators and network were unhappy with her. “It was a decision made last year,” she clarified. “I hope everyone will love and enjoy EVERYTHING ABBY not only for the rest of this season but for everything she has given all of us for 16 years.”

Producers of the show confirmed they had known in advance that she would be leaving. CBS said in a statement, via Variety, “While it’s never easy saying goodbye to a beloved actress and character, we respect her decision … We are grateful to Pauley for all her contributions to the series and making Abby one of the most unique characters on television.” While being a consistent champion for that uniqueness, Perrette’s fans were sad to see her go and without many post-“NCIS” credits, raising the question of her retirement.

Pauley Perrette has made her future in acting very clear

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Despite loving the opportunity to play Abby Sciuto, Pauley Perrette never enjoyed the spotlight that came with fame. In an interview with “CBS Sunday Morning,” she explained what bothered her most about the burden of celebrity: “It’s being a commodity … it’s just very dehumanizing.” Leaving “NCIS,” Perrette expressed, “I think that I have earned a little bit of time to myself.” She did indeed take time before signing on for the short-lived sitcom “Broke” in 2020 — a show Perrette credits as the reason she came back to TV at all.

“I’m retiring,” she told TV Insider, while promoting the premiere. “And I meant it! Nobody believed me, but I did.” The show’s debut landed early in the pandemic and was canceled before its season finale, per Deadline, but the experience was a rewarding one for the actor. The star tweeted a heartfelt tribute to the healing sitcom before its end, but the positive experience did not change her mind on retirement.

“I’m HAPPILY RETIRED! Finally!” she wrote on Twitter. “Actually I retired after NCIS but BROKE was important, beautiful. I did my last dance & am proud of it!” Perrette explained in a follow-up tweet. She stated that those close to her were always aware of her intentions to step away from acting after “Broke.” She concluded her personal celebration by sending love to her fans, and saying, “I AM FREE!!! (To be the tiny little simple human I am!)”

Pauley Perrette is moving on from the NCIS drama

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Despite previously tweeting references to “multiple physical a******s” and being “t******d” of her “NCIS” co-star Mark Harmon after an on-set incident with his dog b1ting a crew member, per TMZ, Perrette has shifted her tune on discussing the troubling time. Rather than elaborating on any specifics of the meaning behind her posts, she told USA Today, “That is a part of my past now, and it’s nothing that I have any need to talk about again, other than one thing: I’m certainly grateful for having the opportunity to play that character and I always will be.”

Her love of the character comes through in so many conversations and she expresses gratitude for being able to have created a positive role model. “Abby made science cool and attainable for young women,” she told CBS Sunday Morning after her exit from “NCIS” was announced. She revealed that criminal science had always been a passion as she was pursuing her master’s degree in the field before falling into acting — something she could very well return to during retirement.

For fans eager to know what Perrette is doing now, she remains active on Twitter and continues work with charitable causes like The Amanda Foundation and The Trevor Project, according to CBS. Like Abby Sciuto, Perrette will continue marching to the beat of her own drum while enjoying life after Hollywood.

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