American Horror Story: Why did Jessica Lange leave?

Jasmine Valentine
Jessica Lange in American Horror StoryFX

In the land of Gods and Monsters, better known as American Horror Story, Jessica Lange was a key figure in the show’s earlier seasons – but why did she leave in the first place?

Known for her previous roles in King Kong, Tootsie, and Cape Fear, it was American Horror Story that was responsible for introducing Lange to a brand-new audience.

Over the course of her time on the show, Lange played Supreme witch leader Fiona Goode, Sister turned institution patient Jude Martin, freak show leader Elsa Mars, and particularly nosy neighbor Constance Langdon.

Article continues after ad

Just as American Horror Story was gearing up for its fifth installment, Lange broke the news that she would no longer be returning to the franchise. But what was her reason for not returning?

Why did Jessica Lange leave American Horror Story?

According to an interview with EW shortly after Season 4, time commitments were the main reason Jessica Lange quit American Horror Story.

American Horror Story Murder HouseFX

“This is a six-month commitment every year. That will be four years in a row,” she stated. “I want to have more time to myself I guess. Once it’s over and I have a full year ahead of me with nothing to do, who knows?

Article continues after ad

“It might not have been the best decision. But I think four years doing something is a sufficient amount of time.”

Lange later returned as her Murder House character Constance Langdon for a brief cameo role during Season 8, but has never returned full-time to the franchise.

Actors leaving and returning is pretty common for American Horror Story, with each separate season acting as a standalone within the horror anthology.

Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters remain among the longest-standing cast members, with newbies such as Kim Kardashian joining the fold in the show’s twelfth season, Delicate.

Article continues after ad

“It’s been all a massive stretch for me and really difficult to do,” Peters said about the show during a 2018 interview with GQ. “It’s hurting my soul and Evan as a person.

“There’s this massive amount of rage that’s been called upon from me, and the emotional stuff that’s been called on me for Pose has been heartbreaking, and I’m sick. I don’t feel good.”

You can check out everything we know about American Horror Story Season 12 here and check out our other coverage below:

Article continues after ad

Related Topics

About The Author

Jasmine Valentine is a TV and Movies Writer at Dexerto. She's written for the likes of Total Film, The Daily Beast, and Radio Times. Jasmine loves anime, dystopian thrillers, and anything starring Tilda Swinton. You can email her here: