Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide on Chicago Fire
Credit: Getty Images

We have sad news to share for Severide stans. We just learned that Taylor Kinney is not coming back to Chicago Fire Season 11 before the finale airs on May 24, 2023. What happened to Kelly Severide on Chicago Fire and where is Taylor Kinney now? Here’s everything that we know.

Chicago Fire is NBC’s hit firefighter drama series that follows the lives of firefighters, rescue personnel and paramedics of the Chicago Fire Department’s fictional Firehouse 51. Produced by Dick Wolf’s production company, Chicago Fire premiered in 2012 on NBC and has been successful ever since. The show has two spin-offs currently on air — Chicago P.D. and Chicago Med — which are part of Dick Wolf’s One Chicago universe (the fourth spin-off, Chicago Justice, was canceled after one season in 2017).

As one of the last O.G. cast members of Chicago Fire, Taylor Kinney plays Kelly Severide, the lieutenant of Firehouse 51 and officer in charge of Squad 3. He’s portrayed the Chicago Fire heartthrob since the very first episode aired more than 10 years ago. Although his character was a ladies’ man in earlier seasons, Severide changed when he started dating his now-wife Lieutenant Stella Kidd in Season 4. They got engaged in Season 9 and married in Season 10.

In an interview with the Today Show’s Al Roker in November 2022, Kinney reflected on his tenure on the show as one of the few remaining original cast members (along with Christopher Herrmann, Joe Cruz, Randall “Mouch” McHolland and Wallace Boden). “Times have changed, and the city has changed, and people have grown,” he said, adding that “This is home.” “I’ve been here over a decade. The city has been good to me. I love the city. I’ve gotten to know it through my work…I love this city.”

After more than a decade on the firefighter-centered TV series, it was reported in January 2023 that Kinney was temporarily leaving the series due to “personal issues.” So, what happened to Kelly Severide and where is Taylor Kinney now?

What happened to Kelly Severide on Chicago Fire?

Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide on Chicago Fire

What happened to Kelly Severide on Chicago Fire? In January 2023, our sister publication Deadline reported that Taylor Kinney, who plays Kelly Severide on Chicago Fire, was “taking a leave of absence to deal with a personal matter.” Sources also told the publication that cast and crew were informed of Kinney’s leave on January 20, 2023, and that future scripts will be written to accommodate his absence from the series. His last episode on Chicago Fire was in Season 11, Episode 15, and we’ve been waiting for an update on Severide’s status since then. There was radio silence until our sister site, Variety, reported on May 2, 2023, that Taylor Kinney will not return to Season 11 as Kelly Severide, but we didn’t receive any explanation as to why that is.

Chicago Fire (as well as Chicago P.D. and Chicago Med) were renewed for the 2023-2024 season by NBC, which means we will get a Season 12 where we hope Kelly Severide will return. The season will premiere sometime in the fall (although, the ongoing Hollywood writers’ strike could push the timeline back depending on how long the strike continues).

On Chicago Fire, the show’s writers handled Severide’s exit by sending him off to “arson training.” In Season 11, Episode 15, “Damage Control,” Tom Van Meter (Tim Hopper) tells Chief Wallace Boden (Eamonn Walker) that Severide has left Chicago to train at “the best arson investigation training program in the world.” Van Meter told Boden that the opportunity was too large for Severide to pass on, and because Severide left at the last minute, he couldn’t tell Boden himself. Although Boden was disappointed, he tells Van Meter that Severide’s arson training will be beneficial for Firehouse 51.

We received another update about Severide’s whereabouts in Season 11, Episode 21 “Change of Plans.” Cruz (Joe Minoso) learned that Severide is no longer in Alabama at the arson investigation program. It turns out that the lieutenant made a big impression and is doing an ATF investigation in an unknown location. Cruz told Severide’s wife, Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo) that it would have been nice to know about Severide’s change of plans, but it’s revealed that Kidd was kept out of the loop too. “What are you talking about?” she asked Cruz. He tried to take back what he said and blamed it on chatter at the academy, and then apologized for bringing it up. Now, we have a lot of questions about why Severide would fail to tell his wife about his new plans. Could a breakup be on the horizon for the couple?

Although Kelly Severide won’t be present in the Season 11 finale, one of our favorite firefighters will grace our screens yet again. Variety also reported that Jesse Spencer, who plays the beloved firefighter, Matthew Casey, will make a guest appearance during the Season 11 finale, which will air on May 24, 2023. Spencer recently returned to the show in the April 5, 2023, episode, “Danger Is All Around,” which left his character open to returning in the future. In an interview with Deadline in April 2022, when asked if Spencer could be coming back full-time, he responded: “I cannot… answer that question,” Spencer told our sister site. “The potential to come back would be awesome. I’m always open to that but you know, the ball isn’t really in my court. In 2023, Jesse Spencer left the Chicago Fire on a full-time basis in Season 10.

Where is Taylor Kinney?

Taylor Kinney

Where is Taylor Kinney? We’re not really sure what the actor is up to during his temporary leave. During the first few months of Taylor Kinney’s break from Chicago Fire, he was not seen at public events and went silent on his social media platforms.

His return to social media finally came from an Instagram post shared by his girlfriend, Ashley Cruger, on Easter, April 9, 2023. She posted three photos, including one shot of them kissing and another of them sticking their tongues out.


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A post shared by Ashley (@ashley_cruger)

Then, a few days later, Taylor Kinney walked his first red carpet since his Chicago Fire exit. He appeared at the 2023 MotoGP VIP Experience & Charity Giving event on April 15, 2023. The official MotoUp Instagram account shared a photo of Kinney and his girlfriend, Ashley Cruger, on the red carpet along with other attendees. “Thanks for stopping by @taylorkinney111 to see what we’re doing to help out our #veterans,” MotoUp captioned the photo.


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A post shared by motoup.org (@motoupusa)

Chicago Fire airs on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.

For more about Severide, check out our photo gallery of Chicago Fire stars and their real-life loves