Actor Rob Lowe, who gained immense popularity for his role in the critically acclaimed political drama series 'The West Wing', has finally revealed why he left the show. He felt undervalued.
As per The Hollywood Reporter, the actor in an interview on the latest episode of Podcrushed podcast, conducted before the SAG-AFTRA strikes said that he felt "very undervalued" during his time on set.
"Whenever I talk to actors who complain about, you know, their relationships on their shows, it happens – it happens in any workplace," Lowe told hosts Penn Badgley, Nava Kavelin and Sophie Ansari. "You could be in an environment where people sandbag you, want to see you fail, don't appreciate you, whatever it is."
In 'The West Wing' the actor portrayed the fictional White House Communications Director Samuel Norman Seaborn who is a member of president Josiah Bartlet's Democratic Party, and is a pivotal character in the first four seasons.
For his portrayal of the character, Rob Lowe received highly positive critical acclaim where he even went on to receive two Primetime Emmy Awards nominations as well as a win at the Golden Globe Awards.
Though the show gave him great acclaim and established his name in Hollywood, looking back at it he said it was not a very good experience for him.
"Whenever I share my stories, people are like, 'I will never share my own stories again,'" the actor added. "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."
Lowe admitted that he "tried to make it work," but ultimately made the decision to part ways with the series. He went on to make a comparison between 'The West Wing' and the abusive relationships he saw his children get into when they got older.
"My kids 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 said. "'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 added: "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."
After Season 1, every other actor in the series received a massive pay hike and their checks doubled, though Lowe much to his disappointment found out that his own royalties were kept exactly the same. In subsequent seasons, Lowe's disappointment only grew more which led to him finally leaving the show after Season 4.
He nonetheless made a few appearances in subsequent seasons and returned in the final season where he played Deputy Chief of Staff to the new president portrayed by Jimmy Smits.