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Desperate Housewives’ James Denton Reflects on Mike Delfino’s Death, ’Uncomfortable’ Hunk Label

James Denton: I Was ‘Never OK’ With ‘Desperate Housewives’ Hunk Label
James Denton.John Salangsang/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Back to Wisteria Lane! James Denton, who played Mike Delfino on Desperate Housewives, reflected on his character in a rare interview about the show.

Related: ‘Desperate Housewives’ Cast: Where Are They Now?

The 58-year-old actor, who played Teri Hatcher’s (Susan) onscreen love interest for eight seasons, appeared on Australia’s The Morning Show on Thursday, March 25.

James Denton: I Was ‘Never OK’ With ‘Desperate Housewives’ Hunk Label
Teri Hatcher and James Denton in “Desperate Housewives.” Abc-Tv/Kobal/Shutterstock

After playing clips of Delfino shirtless in Susan’s yard from the 2004 pilot, host Larry Emdur asked, “Are you OK with the ‘hottest man on TV’ title?”

“No, I was never OK with it. I spent most of my career playing bad guys until Housewives,” the Good Witch star replied. “I had never been hunky. I was happy to be there, don’t get me wrong, but it was uncomfortable. It follows me forever, that shirtless shot in the front yard.”

He added: “I got the scene and spat out the pizza and threw the beer down, went straight to the gym and I still didn’t get into very good shape.”

Related: TV's Most Shocking Deaths

While Susan and Mike had an on-again, off-again relationship on the former ABC drama, they were happily married during the final season — until Denton’s character is shot and killed in front of their home ahead of the series finale.

“Terri is so brilliant in this scene,” he said of his onscreen death. “They actually called me in and asked me about it before they did it. They wanted to do something shocking before the finale and they couldn’t kill any of the women. They actually called me in, the network and [creator] Marc Cherry and said, ‘Hey we’re thinking about killing Mike off with about four [episodes] to go.’ And they had to pay me for all of them anyway.”

Denton added, “I got a good exit. … And I got three episodes. I thought they did it well and it’s heartbreaking, mainly thanks to Teri.”

Desperate Housewives, which aired from 2004 to 2012, also starred Felicity Huffman (Lynette), Marcia Cross (Bree) and Eva Longoria (Gaby). After the show wrapped, Denton and wife Erin O’Brien relocated to his native Minnesota.

“We thought maybe we should get the kids out of L.A.,” the father of two said on Thursday. “It’s not a great place for kids. It’s tough. The schools are really expensive, so we decided as soon as Housewives ended, we’d come up here and let them grow up in a little more normal suburban American neighborhood.”

Related: Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy: A Timeline of Their Relationship

Denton added the “only downside” of playing Delfino was landing more serious roles post-Desperate Housewives.

“I had trouble getting seen for anything that was a suit and tie role or maybe a politician. Anything like that that wasn’t blue-collar, I had a little trouble right after Housewives,” he recalled. “But you’ll never hear me complain.”

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