The Truth About Stella Kidd's Leave Of Absence From Chicago Fire

For a while there fans were worried about whether or not Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo) had a future on "Chicago Fire." The character debuted on the mega-popular NBC show way back in 2016 when it was its fourth season. Since then she's become a mainstay and found her way into some very interesting plots. For instance, there's her ongoing relationship with Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney), which has gotten extra juicy lately.

However, Kidd was notable mainly in her absence for the majority of the show's ongoing 10th season. Showrunner Derek Haas told Parade that he was luckily able to get Mayo back on set in time to film for the season's 9th episode, which aired in early December. She made a fleeting cameo then and returned in earnest when the show returned from its winter break this month.

In her absence, Kidd missed out on what could have been a major career move. One Chicago Center noted that Kidd's relationship with Severide was also put under a lot of stress by her time away. There's even been whispers amongst fans who thought that he may have cheated on Kidd (who he is engaged to) with Wendy Seager (Andy Allo). Don't worry though, the publication pointed out that there is no sign that anything like that went down. The lovers seem to be in a pretty good spot.

Why has Kidd, a long-term fixture on the show, been missing from so much of Season 10? Read on to find out!

Stella Kidd was focused on her Girls on Fire youth program for most of Season 10

Casual viewers of "Chicago Fire" may have been extremely concerned by Kidd's absence during several episodes in the 10th season. However, it turns out that there was a logical explanation for it. TV Guide reported that she was apparently traveling to help get her "Girls on Fire" program set up. Kidd told the publication that the character was feeling some pressure and this was her way of coping. "She just kind of leaned into what felt like home, doing Girls on Fire and being surrounded by women and really excelling with that project that she started that was like her baby."

What about the missed opportunity to take over for Matthew Casey (Jesse Spencer) as the leader of Truck 81? Mayo told Parade that the character was suddenly doubting herself. "I think that she's a scrapper, she's used to working, she's used to being in pursuit of something," she explained. "And she realized that if she were to take this on now, she's really realizing what all of that means. Especially at 51. It's not just her becoming lieutenant anymore, having the title of lieutenant. Being the lieutenant of a company essentially means that if something happens it's on you."

That explains some things, but what about Kidd's relationship with Kelly Severide? Mayo had an explanation for that, too.

Miranda Rae Mayo called Kelly Severide the love of Stella Kidd's life

It's good to know a bit more about what was going on in Stella Kidd's mind. Miranda Rae Mayo also assured fans that Kidd does love Kelly Severide. In fact, she called him the love of her life. "I definitely believe that Stella's committed. Above anything and everything else, she's in love with this man and she's committed to him, and she chooses him," she told Parade.

"Even if she has a moment where she goes within and withdraws, she continues to choose him. And that's what I would imagine a good marriage or relationship needs. You're not always going to be sure, but what matters is if you show up, you continue to show up." Speaking of a marriage, Mayo speculated that the couple would prefer an intimate wedding ceremony to a blow-out affair.

That's not to say that the actor has totally excused all of Mayo's decisions. "It was difficult for me to have grace and so I'm curious if the audience's grace factor extending to Stella, what that is going to look like for her versus for Kelly," she told TV Guide. We'll have to continue watching to see where the cards fall.

So that explains Kidd's absence. One thing we still don't know is what Mayo was up to that kept her away from set. Parade noted that she was holding that secret close for now, but we'll likely find out soon enough.