‘Girlfriends’ Star Admits Show Cancelation ‘Was Real Rough’ and Led to Depression

Running for eight seasons and a total of 172 episodes, Girlfriends is one of the most successful TV shows of the early 2000s. Tracee Ellis Ross, Golden Brooks, Jill Marie Jones, and Persia White all became global stars as four Los-Angeles based best friends who were there for each other “through thick and thin.” Then, in 2008, the show was suddenly canceled.

The news was obviously hard on everyone but especially actor Reggie Hayes, who admits he spiraled into depression as he struggled to find another steady gig.

The cast of 'Girlfriends' stands together at an event and poses for a photo
Cast of ‘Girlfriends’ | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Reggie Hayes on ‘Girlfriends’

From the first to the final season, Hayes played William Dent. Audiences first got to know him as a lawyer at the law firm where Joan Clayton (Ross) worked. But he grew to be a close friend to her and her girls.

A true mama’s boy, William had a hard time in the relationship department. Following a string of failed romances, including with Joan, he found love with Keesha Sharp’s Monica Charles Brooks. Eventually, the two married and started a family together. Hayes’ character was vibrant and funny, among other things, and his work on the show earned him several awards, via IMDb.

Why ‘Girlfriends’ got canceled

Girlfriends had been on the air for eight years when it was abruptly canceled over financial reasons.

“This was a very difficult decision for us, and was based solely on the considerable cost to license each episode in an extremely unusual business environment,” a representative for the CW told The Orlando Sentinel at the time (via TV Series Finale). That person seemed to be referring to the 2007-2008 writers strike, which reportedly cost the industry billions of dollars.

With that, fans were never given any closure for the show. Girlfriends, which was barely halfway through its eighth season at the time, ended with several unfinished storylines, including Joan learning that her fiancé is coming home from the war.

The cancelation of ‘Girlfriends’ was ‘crushing’ to Reggie Hayes

Looking back at that time, Hayes admits that his life essentially fell apart after the show went off. “[Girlfriends] was like a parent to me,” he said in an upcoming appearance on Unforgotten. “With that kind of money, it was like there was something there that was always going to fix whatever I had messed up. You know, it was like I had no worries. But when that show ended, that kind of safety net happened, and it’s like you’re on your own again.”

“It’s like growing up, you know, your folks are dead, and you’ve gotta scramble to make a living. And it was real rough on me. I got real depressed for years,” Hayes continued, noting that he also gained a lot of weight during that time. “When there’s no work, you sort of stay in bed. … It was real crushing to me.”

Though he struggled to find work immediately after Girlfriends, Hayes’ career seems to be on the upswing. As his IMDb page notes, he’s appeared in several shows in recent years, including Criminal Minds, NCIS, and Black-ish. In 2021, he was even featured in a few episodes of the hit superhero drama series Black Lightning. That and Girlfriends can be streamed now on Netflix.

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