Hilarie Burton Ran Away to Paris After Leaving ‘One Tree Hill’ Because She Needed a Change

Though Hilarie Burton burst onto the entertainment scene in the early 2000s as a host of MTV’s Total Request Live and then as Peyton Sawyer on the hit teen drama, One Tree Hill, she has been living a very quiet life. The actress lives with her actor husband, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and her two children on a 100-acre farm in upstate New York.

However, with the release of her new memoir, The Rural Diaries: Love, Livestock, and Big Life Lessons Down on Mischief Farm, Burton is getting candid about falling in love with Morgan, why she left Hollywood for the country and most importantly, she’s giving One Tree Hill fans some major insight on why she abruptly left the show after six seasons.

In fact, Burton has just revealed that she not only left One Tree Hill, she completely fled from her old life.

Hilary Burton doesn’t regret leaving ‘One Tree Hill’

After Season 6 of One Tree Hill, fans were stunned when The CW announced that Burton, along with her co-star Chad Michael Murry would not be returning to the long-running drama. At the time, there were rumors spreading about money and contracts.

However, Burton is now saying that money had nothing to do with it. “I don’t regret that at all,” she told her former OTH castmate, Jana Kramer, on her podcast, Whine Down. “I knew that I needed to start something new. It was time. I had a big chip on my shoulder and I just needed to put it down.”

Working on ‘One Tree Hill’ was extremely challenging for Hilarie Burton

In 2017, amid the #MeToo movement, Burton along with 17 other castmates and crew members from her time on One Tree Hill came forward to accuse the series creator, Mark Schwahn, of sexual and verbal abuse. Stars from his more recent series, The Royals had the same allegations, and he was subsequently fired from.

The toxic environment wasn’t the only thing that Burton found challenging about the series. “I had spent the previous few years wandering, never really finding my place, but I wanted more,” Burton writes in The Rural Diaries. “I wanted a family. I wanted a home that could be a refuge and a blank canvas that would allow me to daydream, to take risks, to try and fail and try again. I wanted to push myself every day. I wanted to make every moment intentional. Wake up intentionally. Work intentionally. Eat intentionally. And rest intentionally.”

Hilarie Burton ran away to Paris after quitting ‘One Tree Hill’

After she decided she would not be renewing her contract on OTH, Burton decided that she wanted to change her life altogether.

“It was time to make a change, so I left One Tree Hill,” she explained in the book.” I’d always wanted to travel and write, so I started to work on a novel, bought a one-way ticket to Paris, and rented an apartment across from Notre Dame Cathedral. 

Before Burton settled into a groove Paris, her life would change drastically once again, she would cross paths with a then relatively unknown actor named Jeffrey Dean Morgan.