‘Saved My Life’: Actress Says Leaving Hit Show Allowed Her To Have Family

"My son Gus exists because Moira Kelly told me to run and so I did."
Actors Hilarie Burton and Jeffrey Dean Morgan arrive at the 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 17, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic via Getty Images

Actress Hilarie Burton gushed with gratitude for fellow “One Tree Hill” actress Moira Kelly, who Burton said gave her “permission” to leave the hit show, which was allegedly plagued with sexual harassment.

More importantly, the push from Kelly “saved” her “life,” the actress explained, because it led her to her husband, fellow actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and her children.

“It’s like, ‘Oh, my God. You don’t know that you saved my life,'” Burton said of Kelly on an episode of the “Drama Queens” podcast, according to E!News. “I don’t know what would have happened to me if I stayed. I met my husband. My son Gus exists because Moira Kelly told me to run and so I did.”

“I just think about how different my life would be if she wasn’t that one person to give me permission to just go,” added Burton.

The 39-year-old emphasized that she trusted and valued Kelly’s opinion because the actress so successfully prioritized her family over work, just as Burton knew she wanted to do.

“I so valued your opinion of me and of our business and the way you prioritized your family over work, and that’s what I wanted—what you had is what I wanted,” said Burton. “You didn’t have to say anything because you lived it and we could just, like, see it…I have wanted to thank you for that, honestly, since I was 26 years old.”

On the podcast, Burton detailed how Kelly, who was a guest on the podcast, helped her leave the show.

“Moira, this is the first time I’ve seen you since I left the show,” Burton started. “I’ve wanted to tell you this for years and years and years, but in the last episode of the show, everyone in my world was telling me, ‘You can’t leave. You can’t leave.’ … You came and you sat next to me and you started off by just joking, and you were like, ‘What’s going on?'”

“I was like, ‘I don’t know what to do,’ and you said, ‘Run,'” the actress continued. “You started it off with, like, a joke, and I was like, ‘Yeah?’ You said to me, ‘There’s so many chapters in life and this is just one. This is just one.'”

Kelly expressed on the podcast that she wished she knew of the alleged sexual harassment on set because she would have done something about it.

Numerous women in 2017 accused “One Tree Hill” showrunner Mark Schwahn of sexual harassment. Schwahn has never publicly commented on the allegations.

“Hearing honestly what all of you young women had to go through—I don’t want to get choked up. If I could go back, I would have made my presence stronger there,” Kelly said. “I felt like, you know, being somewhat of a veteran, you were all so very young coming into this situation, there’s a part of me that feels like I let you all down.”

“If I had been more present, I would have been more aware maybe of what was going on, I surely would have said something,” she added. “I surely would have done something, and so, if I could go back and do anything different, I would make my presence so solid on that show and I would have made myself so available to all of you.”

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