By Janelle Grodsky
Updated Mar 16, 2016 @ 4:45 pm
Credit: Michael Bulbenko/Paley Center

Will Olivia Pope ever get back together with President Fitz on Scandal? Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn's characters broke up on the show's winter finale and the question has been on our minds ever since. Their up-in-the-air romance was the hot topic at Tuesday night's PaleyFest panel, which took place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Calif. Creator Shonda Rhimes broke down exactly why the two split and why you shouldn't expect them to rekindle in the near future.

"I'm happy that you have fallen in love with Fitz because that is the journey that Olivia went on," Rhimes explained. "She fell in love with Fitz, she fell into a forbidden romance, she bought the fantasy. Then she got the fantasy and she discovered that the fantasy wasn't real. That doesn't mean that she doesnt love Fitz, and that does not mean that Fitz isn't worthy of love. It just means that Olivia does not know who she is yet."

Rhimes went on to explain why Olivia needed to break free of that Fitz cycle. "The idea that they are together under the circumstances in which they were together—that she was going to move into the White House and become Mellie (Bellamy Young), who was the unhappiest woman we've ever seen in our entire lives—is a farce," she said. "She was going to surrender every little piece of who she was to be a prisoner inside the White House and basically be an appendage of him. That was never going to work. For Olivia, the breaking free of that, while painful, was the first step to realizing she was not who she was supposed to be. Her father has been saying that forever, and while he may represent evil for many of you, he also represents a lot of truth."

Credit: Rob Latour/Paley Center

Even though their romance has been such an important part of Scandal, Rhimes stressed what the show is really about. "Olivia has been on a journey since we started," she said. "It's interesting to me that her primary story is a romance. That's what you've seen. To me, her primary story has been discovery of herself."

Shonda Rhimes dropping truth bombs—we can appreciate that! The cast also announced that the show has been renewed for another season. We can't wait to see where Olivia's journey will take her.

For now, a new episode of Scandal airs on Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.