Steve Burns, the OG star of ‘Blue’s Clues,’ opened up about mental health and why he chose to leave the show.
In the wake of his return to the Nickelodeon show, Burns sat down with Variety and opened up about how his mental health affected his career.
“I didn’t know it yet, but I was the happiest depressed person in North America,” Burns said. “I was struggling with severe clinical depression the whole time I was on that show. It was my job to be utterly and completely full of joy and wonder at all times, and that became impossible.”
Burns hosted the series from 1996-2002 before his abrupt departure. At the time, Burns told viewers that he was leaving for college but that was not the case.
He continued, “I was always able to dig and find something that felt authentic to me that was good enough to be on the show, but after years and years of going to the well without replenishing it, there was a cost. My strategy had been: ‘Hey, you got a great thing going, so just fight it!’ Turns out, you don’t fight depression; you collect it.”
Following Burns’ departure, a rumor circulated that Burns had died in real life from a car accident or an overdose.
“I was under the working assumption that most of y’all thought I was dead,” Burns said. “That rumor was so persistent and so indelible that I assumed it was a cultural preference. I eventually just took the hint. I kept my head down and left public life.”
Burns returned to the big screen in 2021 for the show’s 25th anniversary. The camo marked his return to the show for its reboot, Paramount+ show ‘You’, as well as the forthcoming film ‘Blue’s Big City Adventure.’