7 actors who left TV shows for frankly weird reasons
Everyone loves a bit of controversy, so there’s no surprise you’d have heard of the times actors left TV shows for dodgy reasons.
But it’s not always behind-the-scenes disputes that cause actors to leave. We wanted to celebrate the weirder reasons that shows have lost their stars – because sometimes you just need a bit of quirkiness in your life.
Here are seven of the best.
1. Meghan Markle (Suits) – becoming a duchess
Of all the reasons to leave TV shows, marrying an actual prince is a pretty good one. Meghan Markle left hit legal drama Suits after seven seasons due to her marriage to Prince Harry, which she has described as a “new chapter” in her life.
“We’re very, very fortunate to have that sort of longevity on a series. Once we hit the 100-episode marker, I thought, ‘You know, I have ticked this box’. I feel really proud of the work that I’ve done there, and now it’s time to work as a team [with Harry],” Meghan, now the Duchess of Sussex, explained.
2. Kal Penn (House) – working for the White House
After two seasons, Kal Penn left his role as Dr Lawrence Kutner on House to join President Barack Obama’s administration as an Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement in 2009, serving on the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities from 2013 until he resigned in August 2017.
He is at least in a fictional White House these days as Press Secretary Seth Wright on Designated Survivor, with Penn also serving as a political consultant for the Kiefer Sutherland drama series.
3. Ed Alonzo (Saved by the Bell) – to focus on magic
Ed Alonzo played Max, the owner of The Max, during the first two seasons of Saved by the Bell, often showcasing some magic tricks. But you might not have been aware when you were watching it that it was because Alonzo is a professional comedian and magician.
Of course, we can’t say that it was why we never saw Max after season two, but Alonzo has gone on to work with Britney Spears on her circus-themed tour in 2009, and was also working on Michael Jackson’s This Is It tour before the popstar’s untimely death. So if it’s a choice between that and being friends with Screech, we know what we’d choose.
4. Steve Burns (Blue’s Clues) – going bald
A whole host of rumours swirled around after Steve Burns left Nickelodeon’s educational kids show Blue’s Clues, including the rather dark one that he had died. However, it seems his reason to leave after more than 100 episodes was much more straightforward and understandable.
“I knew I wasn’t gonna be doing children’s television all my life, mostly because I refused to lose my hair on a kids’ TV show, and it was happening fast,” he revealed in a Blue’s Clues special in 2006. It’s bad enough seeing a bald patch in a hairdresser’s mirror, so we understand his decision.
5. Rubén Blades (Fear the Walking Dead) – too busy winning Grammys
We’ve been a bit cheeky with this one as Rubén Blades hasn’t left his role as fan-favourite Daniel Salazar on Fear the Walking Dead, yet he sure does go missing from the show for long periods of time and hasn’t yet been seen on season four.
Fear‘s new co-showrunner Andrew Chambliss has confirmed that Daniel “is alive and out there” and in case you didn’t know, his lengthy absences from the show are down to the fact he’s a successful musician with a discography five decades long.
6. Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Home Improvement) – to study with Prince William
Not technically a weird reason to leave paid work, but the young star had been earning paycheques since he was eight years old and fancied doing something very different to Tim Allen’s blokey sitcom. So he went to Harvard and Columbia University, and ended up at St Andrews in Scotland at the same time as Prince William.
“To sit in a big library amongst books and students, that was pretty cool,” says Thomas. “It was a novel experience for me.”
Maybe he hung out with Wills? Maybe he hung out with the duchess formerly known as Catherine Middleton!
He was once reportedly the origin of a spat between Britney and Xtina, you know. Just saying.
7. Taylor Momsen (Gossip Girl) – to become a goth rock star
After three seasons as Jenny Humphrey on Gossip Girl, Taylor Momsen only appeared in four episodes of season four before she left the series at the end of the season. But it wasn’t just Gossip Girl she quit – she left acting altogether to focus on her music career as the lead singer of The Pretty Reckless.
“I quit Gossip Girl and now tour and am in a band and that’s pretty much all I want to do. Hopefully I’ll be able to only do that for the rest of my life,” she explained in 2011. The band have released three albums to date.
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