Rob Lowe dishes on ‘abusive’ relationship with ‘West Wing’ and why he left: ‘Best thing I ever did’

Actor Rob Lowe claims that leaving his role on “The West Wing” was the best thing he ever did and called it an “abusive” relationship where he was undervalued.

Lowe, 59, made the comments on “Podcrushed” Thursday while speaking with hosts Penn Badgley, Nava Kavelin, and Sophie Ansari.

He played Sam Seaborn, the deputy White House communications director, in the Emmy-award-winning series on NBC for four seasons.

“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 noted.

(Video Credit: Podcrushed)

“And 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,” he commented.

Lowe described working on the set of the show as “diving to the depths of the Titanic every day and we were worried about a pressure crack.” He called the show’s creator Aaron Sorkin “talented, but also intense.”

“I did not have a good experience,” he revealed, adding “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 left the hit show in March 2003. It ran for seven seasons between 1999 and 2006.

A release from CNN at the time claimed that Lowe departed the show because he “was disenchanted over the unwillingness of producers to raise his $75,000-an-episode salary.” The star of the show Martin Sheen was paid $300,000 per episode.

Lowe issued a statement when he left asserting his character no longer fit the show. He did return for two episodes during the show’s final season.

“As much as it hurts to admit it, it has been increasingly clear, for quite a while, that there was no longer a place for Sam Seaborn on The West Wing. Warners had allowed me an opportunity to leave the show as I arrived — grateful for it, happy to have been on it, and proud of it. We were a part of television history and I will never forget it,” he said at the time.

The official statement from Warner Brothers Television and John Wells Productions in 2002 said the separation happened “amicably.”

He compared leaving “The West Wing” 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 asked during the podcast.

“I knew that it was a super unhealthy relationship, and it was the best thing I ever did.” he declared.

The show received three Golden Globe awards and 26 Primetime Emmy Awards.

Lowe has had a long and thriving acting career. Following “The West Wing” he also appeared on other popular shows such as “Brothers and Sisters,” “Parks and Recreation,” Unstable” and “The Simpsons.” He was also in The Stand” and the 1985 hit “St. Elmo’s Fire,” where he appeared with fellow young actors who were dubbed the Brat Pack.

As the actor reveals that hit shows in Hollywood are not all they are cracked up to be, Disney CEO Bob Iger has backtracked and now claims he is “personally committed” to finding a solution to end the SAG-AFTRA and Writer’s Guild strikes that are crippling Hollywood and ticking off Americans.

Last month he called the striking actors and writers’ demands “not realistic” during a billionaire’s retreat, according to the Daily Mail.

Wednesday, he told investors, “Nothing is more important to this company than its relationships with the creative community. That includes actors, writers, animators, directors, and producers.”

“I have deep respect and appreciation for all those who are vital to the extraordinary creative engine that drives this company and our industry. And it is my fervent hope that we quickly find solutions to the issues that have kept us apart these past few months. And I am personally committed to working to achieve this result,” he added, totally changing his tune.

Iger also stated that the company’s streaming platforms, including Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN had a $512 million loss in the second quarter. He said that spending on Disney+ will be reduced due to the strikes.

“We currently expect fiscal 2023 content spend to come in at approximately $27 billion, which is lower than we previously guided due to lower spend on produced content, in part due to the writers and actors strikes,” he noted.

“I believe Disney’s long-term future is incredibly bright, but there is more to accomplish before this transformative work is complete,” Iger declared in a statement last month before announcing he would stay on as CEO for two more years.

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