Dan Stevens, one of the stars of the British historical drama "Downton Abbey," tells the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper that he had decided to leave the show before the third season started taping because he wanted to pursue other work.
"We were always optioned for three years,” he said. “And when that came up it was a very difficult decision. But it felt like a good time to take stock, to take a moment. From a personal point of view, I wanted a chance to do other things."
He added, "It is a very monopolizing job. So there is a strange sense of liberation at the same time as great sadness because I am very, very fond of the show and always will be."
Stevens couldn’t say what future work he will do, although he noted, "There are some exciting opportunities." He hinted he will consider film, noting, "I haven’t done as many films as I would have liked."
Stevens is currently on Broadway in “The Heiress” and has been linked to DreamWorks’ upcoming Wikileaks movie.
His departure from “Downton Abbey” was confirmed earlier this week, as reported previously. Stevens will be off the show starting with season four.
Season three has completed its run in the U.K. and begins airing on PBS in the U.S. Jan. 6.