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Hilarie Burton Says Moira Kelly Encouraged Her To Leave 'One Tree Hill': 'You Saved My Life'

Hilarie Burton Says Moira Kelly Encouraged Her To Leave 'One Tree Hill': 'You Saved My Life'

Hilarie Burton is giving her gratitude to Moira Kelly during the latest episode of the Drama Queens podcast.

While the former One Tree Hill co-stars reminisced on the WB series, Hilarie said that Moira inspired and encouraged her to leave the series after six years.

“Moira, this is the first time I’ve seen you since I left the show. 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,’” Hilarie recalled. “I didn’t direct because I didn’t want to be on set all day because it was so bad. You came and you sat next to me and you started off by just joking, and you were like, ‘What’s going on?’”

Click inside to read more of Hilarie’s story…

Hilarie went on, remembering that she had told Moira that “‘I don’t know what to do,’ and you said, ‘Run.’ 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.’”

According to the star, Moira, who played Lucas’ mom Karen on the show, was the only person “that gave me permission to go” and explore other opportunities.

“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,” she explained. “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.”

Moira also opened up about her time on the show, wishing she had been more present during her time there.

“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,” she told Hilarie and co-hosts Sophia Bush and Bethany Joy Lenz. “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.”

A few years ago, a handful of cast and crew members of One Tree Hill wrote a letter accusing their former showrunner Mark Schwahn of sexual harassment.

“It’s like, ‘Oh, my God. You don’t know that you saved my life.’ I don’t know what would have happened to me if I stayed,” Hilarie told Moira. “I met my husband [Jeffrey Dean Morgan]. 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.”

Listen to the entire episode below:

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