Rob Lowe revealed that leaving the Emmy-award-winning show “The West Wing” was the “best thing” he ever did.
Lowe, who played Sam Seaborn, the deputy White House communications director, in the political NBC drama, said he felt “undervalued” during his four seasons on the show.
“Whenever I talk to actors who complain about their relationships on their shows, and sometimes it happens, it happens in any workplace, you can be in an environment where people sandbag you, want to see you fail, don’t appreciate you, whatever it is,” Lowe told “Podcrushed” hosts Penn Badgley, Nava Kavelin, and Sophie Ansari.
“And whenever I share my stories people are like ‘I will never share my own stories again.”
Lowe likened the work environment as “diving to the depths of the Titanic every day and we were worried about a pressure crack” and described the show’s creator Aaron Sorkin as “talented, but also intense.”
“I did not have a good experience,” said Lowe who continued on saying “I tried to make it work and tried to make it work, and tried to make it work, and then what happened was my kids were getting to a certain age where I could see them having first girlfriends or friends and being in a relationship that was abusive and taking it.”
Lowe finally got the courage to leave the show in March 2003, when his children as his children were growing up.
According to a CNN release, Lowe had left the show because he “was disenchanted over the unwillingness of producers to raise his $75,000-an-episode salary” while the show’s lead Martin Sheen was paid $300,000 per episode.
Lowe released a statement at the time, saying his character did not fit the show anymore before he returned for two episodes during the show’s final season.
He compared his departure to walking away from the “most popular girl at school.”
“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,” Lowe said during the interview.
“I knew that it was a super unhealthy relationship, and it was the best thing I ever did.”
“The West Wing” ran centered around Sheen as President Josiah Bartlet and ran for seven seasons from 1999 to 2006.
It received three Golden Globe awards and 26 Primetime Emmy Awards during its run.
Lowe’s acting career thrived following his stint on the show as he appeared in shows including “Brothers and Sisters,” “Parks and Recreation,” Unstable” and “The Simpsons.”