Why did Midge leave That ‘70s Show?

That’ 70s Show’s Midge Pinciotti left the series after season three, when the actress, Tanya Roberts, made the decision to leave to take care of her ailing husband.

That ‘70s Show’s third season marked the exit of two popular characters. The first was that of Lisa Robin Kelly, who played Laurie Forman, as she left mid-season.

The second exit happened at the end of the season, when the character Midge Pinciotti, played by Tanya Roberts, left.

Roberts’ exit from the series was not tainted with controversy like that of Lisa Robin Kelly, as the acclaimed actress left the hit series for personal reasons.

Roberts returned to her character in season six and appeared in a few episodes of the new season, before leaving the show indefinitely, this time without a publicised reason.

What was That ‘70s Show?

That ‘70s Show first premiered in 1998, and throughout its eight-season run, the hit comedy series became one of the flagship series of the FOX television network. The hit sitcom was created by Mark Brazill, and Bonnie and Terry Turner.

The premise of the show was, “A comedy revolving around a group of teenage friends, their mishaps, and their coming of age, set in 1970s Wisconsin.”

The title character Eric Forman, was played by Topher Grace, and the show focused on him and his friends.

However, the main cast also included adults, some of which were Eric’s parents, Red and Kitty, along with their neighbours, Bob and Midge Pinciotti.

Why did Midge leave That ‘70s Show?

On That ‘70s Show, Midge Pinciotti was played by Charlie’s Angels alum, Tanya Roberts. The character was written to be dim-witted, and married to the old-fashioned Bob Pinciotti.

During the third season, Midge was looking to break away from the stereotypes of being a housewife, while her husband was holding on to his conservatism and beliefs about the role of a woman in marriage.

As a result, at the end of season three, Midge decided to leave her husband to move to California, where she would pursue a career on Broadway.

This decision was made by the writers to highlight how “blonde” Midge really was. The divorce between Midge and Bob happened off screen, as Tanya Roberts did not return for season four and five, and only made her return during the season six finale.

While her return was sporadic, both times that she left were attributed to personal matters.

Why did Tanya Roberts leave That ‘70s Show?

Tanya Roberts, who played Midge Pinciotti, first left the series in 2001 following the conclusion of season three. At the time of her departure, her reasoning was personal matters.

Specifically, Roberts took time away from working in Hollywood to spend time taking care of her ailing husband and fellow actor, Barry Roberts.

Barry was believed to have been diagnosed with encephalitis, which is the inflammation of the brain and is most commonly caused by a viral infection.

Her husband’s health seemingly took a turn for the better, as Roberts returned to the series during the season finale.

When did Midge return to That ‘70s Show?

That ‘70s Show’s Midge Pinciotti returned to the series during the season six finale, which aired in 2004. Midge returned for Eric and Donna’s wedding, but that did not end up happening.

She returned again sporadically for episodes of season seven in 2005, where she attempted to fight for the affections of her ex-husband Bob, who was dating Jackie’s mother, Pam.

However, she abruptly left the show again during that very same season. Thereafter, Midge did not return to the series, which ended in 2008 after eight seasons.

What is Tanya Roberts doing now?

After her last appearance on That 70s Show in 2005, in the same year, Tanya Roberts earned her last two acting credits on the hit sitcom, Eve, and her last character role, as Ellie Palmer on the series Barbershop.

Thereafter, she did not return to our screens, as it was believed that she had returned to taking care of her husband, who passed away in 2006. Years later, in January 2021, Roberts died.

She collapsed on Christmas Eve 2020 and was hospitalised. It is believed that she never recovered from the incident, and unfortunately, was laid to rest.

Final thoughts

That ‘70s Show’s third season saw two of the main cast members leave the show. Both, for personal reasons, but for Tanya Roberts who played Midge Pinciotti, it was heart-breaking.

Roberts left her character in 2001, in order to spend time with and take care of her husband, Barry Roberts.

Barry Roberts was believed to have been diagnosed with encephalitis, with which he had a four-and-half-year battle. This was, later, the cause of his death in 2006.

Tanya Roberts, despite a brief return to That ‘70s Show and acting in 2005, would retire after that year and sadly passed away in 2021.