'It was a super-unhealthy relationship': 'Undervalued' Rob Lowe talks West Wing exit

Rob Lowe felt "very undervalued" on 'The West Wing' and left the show because he felt he was in a "super-unhealthy relationship".



Rob Lowe has opened up about his exit from The West Wing
Rob Lowe has opened up about his exit from The West Wing

Rob Lowe felt "very undervalued" on 'The West Wing'.

The 59-year-old actor left the political drama in 2002 after four seasons playing deputy communications director Sam Seaborn and he's now explained he decided to leave because he "did not have a good experience" and compared his time in the show to being in an abusive relationship.

Speaking on the 'Podcrushed' podcast, Rob said in an interview conducted before the actors' strike: "Whenever I talk to actors who complain about, you know, their relationships on their shows, it happens — it happens in any workplace.

"You could be in an environment where people sandbag you, want to see you fail, don't appreciate you, whatever it is.

"Whenever I share my stories, people are like, 'I will never share my own stories again.

"They would make your hair stand up, and there's some of them I wrote. I shared some of them in my book, but I purposely didn't share half of the other ones because it would make the people involved look so bad that I didn't want to do it to them. So, I did not have a good experience."

Rob "tried to make it work" but realised he needed to make changes because his sons were "getting to a certain age where I could see them having first girlfriends and being in a relationship that was abusive and taking it."

He elaborated: "She's the popular girl, everybody likes her, she's beautiful, it must be great' — all the things that people would say about making 'The West Wing to me'. 'It's so popular, it's so amazing, it must be amazing.' But I know what it's like, and if I couldn't walk away from it, then how could I empower my kids to walk away from it?

"I walked away from the most popular girl at school, but I also knew that it was a super-unhealthy relationship, and it was the best thing I ever did."

Despite his comments, Rob returned to the show for two episodes in the seventh and final season in 2006, including the finale, and also took

part in a 2020 HBO special in aid of the non-profit organisation When We All Vote.