Martin Lawrence Reveals the Real Reason ‘Martin’ Ended

Martin is one of the most beloved and popular sitcoms in history. Spanning five seasons, the show chronicled the adventures of a group of friends living in Detroit: a brash radio DJ Martin; his chirpy girlfriend Gina; Gina’s best friend Pam; and Martin’s two best friends Cole and Tommy.

Martin was groundbreaking in its content and for its all-black cast. It became a fixture in many households and dominated television for five consistently amusing years. But despite its success and fairly strong ratings, the show came to an end in 1997.

There have been many rumors in regards to the reason it went off the air — from infighting to disinterest among the cast. In a new interview, Martin Lawrence finally addressed these rumors and shared the real reason why his famous show ended.

Martin Lawrence at an event in 2019
Martin Lawrence at an event in 2019 | Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Martin Lawrence talks about ‘Martin’

On Jan. 6, GQ published a wide-ranging interview with the Big Momma’s House actor. Lawrence talked about everything from his relationships to his run-ins with law enforcement. But the real bombshell came when he was asked why the FOX series ended.

In response to the question, Lawrence said:

“Well, how can I say this? It just was time to end. Let’s just put it that way. It was just, at that time, there was some, um, there were some things that was being said that—”

“You’re talking about Tisha Campbell’s lawsuit?” the interviewer asked.

“Yeah. Yeah,” Lawrence replied.

But he insisted, contrary to popular belief, that his issues with his co-star did not lead to the end of the show. Lawrence chalked up the end as a career choice.

“I just decided to walk away from the show,” he claimed. “I just decided to end it. People said that I got canceled, but that wasn’t the case. I decided to just leave the show.”

A look back at the drama between Tisha Campbell and Martin Lawrence

In November 1996, Campbell — who played Gina — abruptly left the show amid rumors of tension between her and Lawrence.

In January 1997, she filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against her co-star. According to The Los Angeles Times, Campbell claimed in the lawsuit that their problems began in the first season when the House Party actress “consistently” refused to go on dates with Lawrence.

By the second season, the documents say, Lawrence “became increasingly manic and volatile” and would “fly into uncontrollable fits of rage for no apparent or rational reason.”

These alleged behaviors reportedly only worsened when Campbell became engaged to Real Husbands of Hollywood actor Duane Martin. The lawsuit claimed that Lawrence, who also executive produced the show, had threatened to fire cast members and would inappropriately touch Campbell and other colleagues when they weren’t rehearsing or filming scenes.

Martin Lawrence and Tisha Campbell in 1996
Martin Lawrence and Tisha Campbell in 1996 | Photo by Aaron Rapoport/Corbis/Getty Images

By the fifth season, things had allegedly become so “out of control” that Campbell felt “terrified and concerned for her safety.” She soon announced that she was leaving the show.

Lawrence denied the claims, saying in a statement, “Martin has long been Tisha’s champion and protector, and is thus deeply hurt by these allegations. There is no merit to the lawsuit, and it will be vigorously defended.”

The suit was later settled out of court, per People.

For the first few episodes of season five, showrunners ran a storyline where Gina had gotten left behind on a boat cruise she and Martin had planned. Campbell would later return to the series but refused to appear in any scenes with the Bad Boys actor. And while showrunners were able to make it work, it seems like Lawrence was ultimately over it and tapped out.

Have Martin Lawrence and Tisha Campbell made up?

Fortunately, Lawrence and Campbell have been able to patch up their issues. They were seen having a friendly lunch by TMZ photographers in 2018 and have since teased that a Martin reboot is in the works.

Lawrence assured fans that there are truly no hard feelings in the interview with GQ, saying, “I love Tisha. … I have nothing but love for her, and I always have.”