In a podcast interview with Paul Greene, who stars as Dr. Carson Shepherd on When Calls the Heart, Daniel Lissing opened up for the first time about the true reason why he left the popular Hallmark series. His departure led to the series killing off his character, Jack, whom many fans still miss. He said that he truly appreciated the fans who loved his character and still does, but he had to leave.
He Said Leaving Was Vital for His Personal Journey & His Goals
In his podcast interview with Paul Greene, Lissing said that he knew he had to leave even though many people were telling him that it was a bad decision for his career. You can watch his response around 1:24 in the video above.
“Everyone said I was crazy,” he said with a laugh. “Maybe they were right…”
But still, he had to follow what he felt was his personal path in life. He told Greene:
I believe in my purpose and I believe in myself, in my journey. And it doesn’t matter what anyone else says, you know, I’ve got a very clear vision of what I want to do, how I want to do it, and the path that I choose to be on in this life… Man, I just loved playing Jack. I really, really did. If there was ever an opportunity to do anything again, I would not be opposed to it. But…in life, you’ve just got to make the decisions… You’ve got a career and you’ve got your personal life… When the two become meshed, you get emotionally involved, that’s when it becomes hard. And that’s why it was hard for me, because I was emotionally involved with my work… But then you have to weigh up: ‘OK what’s my purpose? What do I want to do? What do I want to achieve? What path do I want to be on? And how do I get there? What’s going to serve me and my journey in the way that I envision?’ And so, super tough decision to walk away, as a lead actor of a television show in America… Let me tell you, 2012 Daniel would have been like, ‘What are you doing?!’
He said many of his Australian friends who wanted to work in the U.S. at the time didn’t understand how he could have left. He elaborated more on why he felt like he had to do it.
You have to follow your heart, and that’s what the show’s all about… Whatever it is, even though people might not agree with you, if you are not hurting anyone, you’re doing something positive for yourself, for your family, for the rest of your life, it can’t be anything but a good thing. I just had to follow my heart…. Since leaving, this has been a transitional period in my life, where I’m taking more control of my destiny in so many areas of my life.
He recently got married, and he said family will always be his first priority, he shared. But he’s also planting seeds for his career in the years to come.
My businesses; it’s been planting seeds for the future. I’m gonna be in this industry for a long time to come… Having a few quiet years under my belt at this period of time; that’s what I planned for.
Lissing said he was told it wasn’t a good time for an actor like him to leave a series. But he said he can’t control what’s going on in the world, only his own journey.
“I’ve taken this period of time to realign myself and my direction and plant seeds for what’s to come,” he said.
He Told Greene His Purpose in Life Is to Elevate Others
Greene circled back to what Lissing said about following his purpose in life, asking him just what that is. Lissing said:
In this life, I’ll put it very simply… In my encounters, I want to lift people up, I want to elevate people through my art… I want to bring a little bit of light and positivity into my interactions and I certainly want to elevate as much as I can, or lift some of the weight that’s on people, through this beautiful medium of television and film…
He said he doesn’t regret any decisions about leaving When Calls the Heart, even though he truly does miss the show.
“You can play the what-if game and go down that rabbit hole, but no,” he said. “I mean, my regrets are few and not worth mentioning… Really, it’s not so much regrets, but working with you guys was just so much fun. I miss it in certain ways. I miss working with Erin; we had such a great chemistry… I really enjoyed that aspect of it, I loved working with horses… I loved working in Vancouver… I miss it in that aspect of things.”
Lissing said he’s shot a pilot for a new series called The Cleaning Lady, and he hopes to one day sell, produce, and star in his own TV series.
He added that he has nothing but love for his Hearties fans and he loves them all.
“I’m grateful, really grateful for the support,” he told Greene. “It’s a funny thing when you play a character that is beloved by fans. There are a lot of Hearties out there that also follow Daniel Lissing as an actor, and other projects. And there’s a lot of Hearties out there that follow Jack. … Both are good, both are great, because it’s positive engagement… We’re putting something positive out into the world… I love you guys, thank you so much for your support, and it is greatly appreciated. And I hope you can continue to follow me as my career evolves and grows into areas that are separate from Hallmark.”