Former “Blue’s Clues” host Steve Burns has revealed the role depression played in his decision to leave the hit Nickelodeon children’s show.
Burns reflected on his exit as the host of the Emmy-nominated series in an interview with Variety published this week, sharing a number of reasons he departed in 2001.
The former host — who told child viewers that he was off to college in his last episode — told the publication that hair loss and not being “boyish anymore” contributed to his departure, before adding that depression made it difficult to be joyous on camera.
“I didn’t know it yet, but I was the happiest depressed person in North America,” Burns told Variety. He elaborated:
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. 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.
Burns said he discovered he couldn’t simply “fight” depression, but that it’s something you “collect.”
He wished he had received help during his time on “Blue’s Clues,” he said, even if it wouldn’t have changed his departure from the program.
“I would have been able to throw my arms around the role, and relax into it a little more,” Burns said. “Because now, when I look back, all I see is what an impossible gift that was.”
Burns is set to star in the upcoming movie “Blue’s Big City Adventure” following a number of guest appearances and credits for producing, writing and directing on the “Blue’s Clues” spinoff “Blue’s Clues & You!”
The movie, set for release Friday, will feature Steve alongside “Blue’s Clues & You!” host Joshua Dela Cruz (Josh) and former “Blue’s Clues” host Donovan Patton (Joe).
If you or someone you know needs help, dial 988 or call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also get support via text by visiting suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.