ITV hit series Downton Abbey became a phenomenal success when it first aired back in 2010. The show from Oscar winning writer Lord Julian Fellowes entranced the globe and attracted celebrity fans including rapper Puff Daddy, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. The costume drama followed the fortunes of the Earl of Grantham (played by Hugh Bonneville) and his family the Crawleys as well as the staff who worked at Downton Abbey.
Why did Dan Stevens really leave Downton Abbey?
Fans quickly fell in love with the characters including the glamorous Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery), Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael) and Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown-Findlay).
The show started with the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 and the future of the Abbey thrown into chaos with the Earl having no male heir to the estate.
With the then heir-presumptive James, whom Lady Mary was due to marry, perishing in the disaster there was doubt over who would inherit it all.
However, solicitor Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) and his mother Isobel Crawley (Penelope Wilton) were revealed to be the next in line for the estate.
Following two seasons of a romantic will they/won’t they situation between Lady Mary and Matthew, the pair got married.
However, while Lady Mary was giving birth to their child in hospital, Matthew was sadly killed in a car accident.
Many viewers were left devastated by the death of the well-loved character and may be curious to know why the actor departed the series.
Stevens’ contract on Downton Abbey expired after season three and the British actor decided he wanted to explore new projects.
He told the Telegraph at the time of his exit how Downton was “a very monopolizing job… I wanted a chance to do other things”.
Speaking to the Mirror in 2017, Stevens said: “I’m still apologizing to people now.”
He continued: “The way Matthew went was out of my hands–but it was rather shocking.
“There were some very upset people and I’ve had to apologize to a lot of people over the past four years.”
Post-Downton, Stevens are built up an impressive acting career which has seen him taking on diverse roles.
Since walking away from the show, he starred as a former US army veteran hiding some dark secrets in The Guest.
He also starred as the Beast in Disney’s live-action remake of the classic Beauty and the Beast opposite Emma Watson.
The role required the actor to sing and allowed him to demonstrate his vocal skills.