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Matthew Morrison Reveals Why He Asked to Leave ‘Glee’ Ahead of Cory Monteith’s Death

Matthew Morrison Asked to Leave Glee Ahead of Cory Monteith Death
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Matthew Morrison wanted to leave Glee well before the series finale, but Cory Monteith‘s death changed everything.

During the Thursday, February 15, episode of Kevin McHale and Jenna Ushkowitz’s “And That’s What You REALLY Missed” podcast, Morrison, 45, revealed that he was in talks to wrap up Will Schuester’s arc during the show’s penultimate season.

“I was actually trying to get off the show. In season 5, I asked to be off the show, because I was just like, ‘I’m no longer being used in the way I wanted to [be],’” Morrison, who played Mr. Schue for all six seasons of the hit Fox series, recalled.

The actor hoped to find success in other projects, adding, “And no disrespect to the show. We are at a high, I was like, ‘Maybe if I get off the show, I could go do something else, go do a movie or whatever.’ And they agreed to let me off the show.”

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Morrison walked back the decision, however, after Monteith’s death in 2013. Monteith died of an accidental drug overdose in July 2013 at age 31. His character, Finn, died offscreen in season 5, but a cause of death was never revealed on the show.

According to Morrison, Monteith’s death led to him staying on Glee until its final season, which aired in 2015.

Matthew Morrison Asked to Leave Glee Ahead of Cory Monteith Death
Paramount (2)

“Then Cory passed, and then they said they couldn’t do it. Because you can’t have the two main guys on the show [leave]. So yeah, it was an interesting time,” he shared. “Obviously, I understood. I was like, ‘Yeah, I get it.’”

Morrison struggled to remain on the show while coming to terms with Monteith’s passing.

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“Trying to reconcile my own wants and selfish needs with the grief of losing an amazing friend, there’s a lot of just mixed emotions. But I’m a professional,” he noted. “I showed up, I did my job. And there was a good pay increase, so that worked too.”

Later in the podcast, Morrison said the negative response to his character took a toll on him, noting, “[I was] so stressed I broke into the craziest psoriasis.” Morrison’s attempt to film Glee while performing solo concerts also led to “super highs highs and devastating lows.”

“It was everything building up, and for me, that was the physical manifestation of what I was feeling inside,” he continued. “I remember watching it back at the time and being like, ‘Oh, my God.’ They had to do so much, the psoriasis was everywhere on my body, but my face was OK. But then it slowly started coming to my ears and my eyelids.”

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Despite the challenges, Morrison was grateful for the time he spent on Glee.

“In a nutshell, I loved the experience and I appreciated it for what it was, but it was really challenging and it was hard to put our bodies through 16 hours a day and then all the other stuff we had to do on top of it,” he concluded. “And not like, ‘Woe is me,’ because it was an amazing opportunity, but we were all there. It was like a war.”

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