7 stars who asked to be written out of their show: from Downton Abbey to Suits
Sometimes being a TV star can be a bit too much, as these actors know all well. Whether it's to explore new creative opportunities, drama with their fellow castmates, or maybe just because the COVID pandemic made their involvement too difficult – here are stars who requested that they were written out of their TV shows…
Mischa Barton – The OC
Although fans loved the character of Marissa Cooper on the hit show The OC, Mischa admitted that she struggled with bullying on the set, and also had a difficult time with her character as she was so different from Marissa in real life. She told EW that things got "too much" in season two, explaining: "I just didn't feel I could keep going."
WATCH: The moment Mischa's character was killed off
The star added that they gave her an option on how she would like to be written off, either leaving to potentially return one day, or being killed off. She added: "I was getting offers from big films at the time and having to turn them down. I had always been supporting in The Sixth Sense and any of those things. My dream was to be offered those lead roles, so that's what happened. It just felt like it was the best thing for me and my health and just in terms of not really feeling protected by my cast and crew at that point."
Mischa left in season 3
Dan Stevens – Downton Abbey
Despite finding fame as cousin Matthew on Downton Abbey, Dan decided that enough was enough when his first three-season contract was up on the period drama. He told The Telegraph: "There were definitely creative itches left unscratched, genres I hadn’t worked in. Three years were up, that’s what we’d initially signed up for, and the appetite to explore further was too great."
Dan left Downton Abbey in season two
He added: "It’s not something I expect people to readily understand. Some admire it, others think I was mad: that the part was the greatest thing that could ever happen to me ... But the question is what would satisfy you?"
Jessica Brown Findlay – Downton Abbey
There wasn't a dry eye in the house when Jessica's character Sybil died in childbirth on the show – and like her co-star Dan, Jessica admitted that she didn't want to renew her contract after becoming too comfortable on the show. She told Radio Times: "I didn’t want to fall into my comfort zone too much. My contract was ending and I was unsure about signing away another year. Leaving me terrified, and that’s what made me want to do it.
Jessica left the show in season 3
"Being afraid and going into the unknown excites me, and what scared me more was to keep going and then one day discover it was all I could do and wish I had pushed myself more."
Liv Tyler – 9-1-1: Lone Star
Liv left the show earlier than anticipated after just one season – but the decision was out of her hands! Since the Lord of the Rings actress lives with her family in London, circumstances were too difficult for her to return to filming season two of the drama, and so she was written out.
Liv was written out after season one
Speaking about her departure, showrunner Tim Minear explained: "What a thrill it was having a movie star of Liv Tyler’s stature to help us launch the first season of 911: Lone Star. We loved working with Liv and will be forever indebted to her for her haunting, powerful portrayal of Michelle Blake."
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Katherine Heigl – Grey's Anatomy
Katherine controversially left the show back in 2010 after refusing to put herself forward for an Emmy award after complaining about her material. Speaking to SiriusXM host Bevy Smith, she opened up about her exit from the series, explaining: "Like, if I could have found a way to work within it, that could have also worked for me. But I only saw it as this one thing: I was up here at a level of intensity that was not healthy for me. And I just fled in a panic."
Katherine has been candid about her exit
Meghan Markle – Suits
Meghan, of course, left her role as Rachel in the hit show Suits after becoming engaged to her now-husband, Prince Harry. At the time, the role's commitments wouldn't have worked with her royal duties. Discussing it in their engagement interview, she said: "I don't see it as giving anything up. I just see it as a change. Now it’s time to work with Harry as a team."
Meghan left for her new royal life
The show creator Aaron Korsh told Radio 4: "I sort of had a decision to make because I didn't want to intrude and ask her, ‘Hey, what's going on? What are you going to do?’ So, collectively the writers, we decided to take a gamble that these two people [Meghan and Harry] are in love and it's going to work out."
Alexis Bledel – The Handmaid's Tale
Alexis announced that she would be departing the show, releasing a statement to Variety which read: "After much thought, I felt I had to step away from The Handmaid’s Tale at this time. I am forever grateful to Bruce Miller for writing such truthful and resonant scenes for Emily, and to Hulu, MGM, the cast and crew for their support."
Alexis said she 'felt she had to' step away from the role
Nicola Walker – Unforgotten
Nicola revealed that it was a joint decision to say goodbye to her character Cassie in the hit ITV drama after season four. She explained to TV Insider: "We talked a lot after season three about where it was going to go, and it was a joint decision. I think the clues were there in Season 3. The title of the show is Unforgotten and I think there’s a great deal of narrative beauty to this woman. She’s not going to be forgotten. I felt like she was quietly very unusual on television because she was a real person."
The show went on to film season five without Nicola
Crystal Reed – Teen Wolf
Crystal was one of the best characters in Teen Wolf as teenage hunter Allison, but her character was written off after she wanted to pursue other opportunities. Chatting to EW, she explained: " I wanted to explore other avenues of film and TV. I wanted to jump into different characters... So I went to Jeff [Davis] and talked about it, and he said, 'We'll write you a great ending." She later returned for the Teen Wolf movie.
Crystal returned for the movie
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