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Split image of Luke Kleintank, Emily VanCamp and Michael Weatherly

TV stars who quit iconic shows to spend time with their family: from Michael Weatherly to Emily VanCamp & more

These NCIS, Walking Dead and The Resident stars wanted a better work-life balance

Megan Bull
TV Writer
April 24, 2024
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Luke Kleintank, Michael Weatherly, Maia Mitchell and more made the difficult decision to leave their respective shows, but it's all for a good reason. 

With gruelling schedules, far-away filming locations and the COVID pandemic making it harder to come home, these fan-favorite actors decided to put their families first and walk away. Here's what happened…

Vinessa Vidotto as Special Agent Cameron Vo, Luke Kleintank as Special Agent Scott Forrester, and Carter Redwood as Special Agent Andre Raines© Getty

Luke Kleintank

In April 2024, Luke Kleintank announced his departure from FBI International, after three years on the show. 

"This decision is driven by my unwavering commitment to my family, whose love and well-being are paramount in my life," he explained in a statement. "I'm profoundly thankful for the extraordinary cast and crew of the show, who have not only been colleagues but also a family away from home. 

"Their unwavering dedication and remarkable talents have made every moment on set an unforgettable journey that has enriched my life in countless ways. Lastly, I would also like to extend my thanks to the fans who have supported us through the first three seasons."

According to Variety, Luke's final episode will air on May 7. Following his departure, the 33-year-old will be able to spend more time with his wife Christina Vignaud and daughter, Ruby. 

Michael Weatherly as Tony DiNozzo in NCIS© Sonja Flemming/CBS

Michael Weatherly

Michael Weatherly devastated fans when he left NCIS in 2016, and while he cited Cote de Pablo's 2013 exit as a contributing factor, he also wanted to spend more time with his kids. 

"The kids are very excited to have me around, mostly because I'm wrapped around their little fingers," he told People. "As a lot of working parents know, when you're not around a lot and then you're with your kids, it's very hard to just come in and be the strict one because then you're just an [expletive]. 

"I think a lot about the kids and the time I get to spend with them now, at this age of 4 and 2½, which is such a critical time," he continued. They just have some extraordinary things going on in their lives and they have great questions for me about why frogs and crickets make sort of the same sound."

Now that Michael's youngest children, Olivia and Liam, are a bit older, the actor has announced his return to the NCIS universe, although this time he'll be joining his good friend Cote in a spin-off series, nicknamed NCIS: Europe, which is expected to air in 2025 or 2026. 

Maia Mitchell in Good Trouble© Getty

Maia Mitchell

For Maia Mitchell, the Covid pandemic put everything in perspective. Addressing her 2022 exit from The Fosters spin-off, Good Trouble, she said: "While I have been so beyond fortunate to have this career and a job that I love, with not an iota of regret, for some time I have suppressed a gravitational pull to return home to Australia to be closer to my nearest and dearest.

"The past two years have been trying, for everyone. I fully recognize the privilege of being able to work and make our show during a global pandemic, but it also meant being separated from my loved ones when we needed each other the most. Thus came the need to create the space to split my time between both countries."

Maia has since moved back to Northern Rivers, Australia. 

Andrew Lincoln at The Walking Dead season 5 premiere © Getty

Andrew Lincoln

Andrew Lincoln gave one of his most memorable performances as Rick Grimes, but after 12 years on The Walking Dead, the actor was written out in 2022. 

Typically filmed in Georgia, Andrew – who lives in England – explained that it had become increasingly difficult to travel out each year. "I have two young children, and I live in a different country, and they become less portable as they get older," he told EW. "It was that simple. It was time for me to come home."

Emily VanCamp in The Resident© Getty

Emily VanCamp

Emily VanCamp starred in The Resident for five years before her character, Nic Nevin, was killed off in 2023. 

"We started talking about [my leaving] a while ago," the actress revealed to Deadline. "I spent so many years on network television, but then suddenly priorities shifted. I think there comes a moment in every woman's life—in every person's life—where it becomes less about work and more about family, and that's what happened while I was making the show. 

"Doing that many episodes in a different city and then you add Covid to that, most of us couldn't see our families for almost a year. It really solidified for me that family is where my heart is at the moment."

Since leaving, Emily has been able to spend more time with her husband, Josh Bowman, and their two daughters. 

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