Why Daniel Lissing left Hallmark’s When Calls The Heart

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In 2018, Daniel Lissing broke the hearts of Hallmark fans when he left the beloved show “When Calls the Heart,” which tells the story of a schoolteacher adapting to life in a 1900s-era coal mining town. Lissing had portrayed Jack Thornton, a central character and the love interest of Elizabeth Thornton, played by Erin Krakow, since the show’s debut in 2014. His character’s storyline concluded tragically in April 2018 when Jack died, leaving Elizabeth a widowed expectant mother.

Fans were eager to understand why Lissing chose to exit after five successful seasons. Shortly after his final episode, he and some co-stars, including Lori Loughlin, who has since left the Hallmark Network, discussed his departure during a Facebook Live session. Lissing explained, “Circumstances arose for me where I needed to leave ‘When Calls the Heart’ for reasons that are very personal to me.” He emphasized the support he received from Hallmark and his co-stars during this transition.

 

Daniel Lissing doesn’t regret leaving “When Calls the Heart”

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While Lissing did not go into specifics about his reasons for leaving, Lori Loughlin hinted that it involved a decision not to renew his contract. She explained during their Q&A, “You either renegotiate or you don’t, and Dan has chosen to move on, we respect that. No judgment, we love him, we wish him well, he’s still part of the Hallmark family.” Lissing himself described the role as “the honor of his career.”

Reflecting on his decision, Lissing expressed no regrets, attributing his departure to positive personal developments. “If I had stayed on the show… I wouldn’t have met [my fiancée] Nadia,” Lissing told ET in February 2020. “And I wouldn’t be getting married and I wouldn’t be at this place in my life where I feel really in line with what I’m meant to be doing personally and professionally, so no regrets at all.” He emphasized that while he loves his career, his personal life is his top priority.

Despite his character’s death making a return to the original show unlikely, Lissing made a guest appearance as Jack in the 2021 spinoff “When Hope Calls.” He shared with ET that Lori Loughlin, amidst her comeback after the college admissions scandal, had requested his appearance. Lissing seemed open to future appearances, stating, “If you can give me a good way to do it, that makes sense, then I’ll be open to listening.”

However, Lissing indicated that a significant return to “When Calls the Heart” was improbable. He told Us Weekly, “To tell you the truth, I left the show for a reason, and I moved past this character.” He acknowledged that Elizabeth Thornton’s character had moved on with other romantic interests, and he felt no need to revisit the past. “Just personally, of course, I’ve got my eye to the future and some different kind of projects and parts that I’m keen on playing,” Lissing concluded.