This Is Us’ Justin Hartley: Fans Will ‘Never Guess’ How Jack Dies, It’s Completely ‘Unexpected’

Puffy eyes for days! This Is UsJustin Hartley knows exactly how his character’s on-screen dad, Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia), dies, and from the sound of it, it seems like fans should take off from work or school the next day. The hunky actor, who plays Kevin Pearson, dropped by Us Weekly’s NYC headquarters to discuss the NBC hit on Wednesday, February 22 with Us Weekly video reporter Christina Garibaldi and executive producer Kim Rittberg.

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“You’ll never guess it,” Hartley, 40, exclusively tells Us of Jack’s fate. “It’s unexpected and it’s extremely heartbreaking and sad and deep and moving and, ugh, it’s painful. It’s painful. It’ll stay with you.”

Justin Hartley
Justin Hartley

Last month, This Is Us revealed that Jack died when the Big Three (Hartley, Chrissy Metz and Sterling K. Brown) were just teenagers. Although the flashback funeral scene didn’t reveal much else, fans continue to come up with theories on how he died. Hartley admits to Us that he’s read some, but has yet to come across one that’s correct.

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Viewers of the freshman series are used to stocking up on tissues. During last night’s “Memphis” episode, Randall’s (Brown) biological father, William Hill (Ron Cephas Jones), succumbed to his stage IV diagnosis.

Milo Ventimiglia as Jack on This Is Us.
Milo Ventimiglia as Jack on This Is Us. Ron Batzdorff/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Hartley either watches the emotional episodes live or ahead of time on set. “Sometimes I’ll watch the New York feed if we’re in L.A.,” he says. “Whenever I’m tweeting the show I like to have watched it once before so I can [fully enjoy it]. I like watching [my fiancée, Chrishell Stause] watch it.”

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Hartley’s on-screen romance isn’t as solid. Kevin is currently trying to win back his ex-wife Sophie (Alexandria Breckenridge), whom he previously cheated on.

Sterling K. Brown as Randall, Chrissy Metz as Kate, and Justin Hartley as Kevin on This Is Us.
Sterling K. Brown as Randall, Chrissy Metz as Kate and Justin Hartley as Kevin on This Is Us. Ron Batzdorff/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

“I think he’s serious about getting her back and I think unfortunately good people do bad things sometimes,” Hartley tells Us. “He’s got a lot to make up for any way you slice it. He broke her heart and he left her with nothing. I think he did it in sort of a selfish way and then he didn’t fess up to it and just ran away from it. He’s trying to convince her that he’s changed so yeah, I think he can earn her back. I think it’s going to take some time. She’s a smart woman, so she’s got to be patient with him. And he has to be patient with her and realize these are deep wounds.”

For more with Hartley, including if he actually likes his character and if he cries while watching the show, watch the video above!

This Is Us airs Tuesdays on NBC at 9 p.m. ET.

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