Colton Haynes has opened up about leaving "Arrow" -- in which he appeared in Seasons 1-3, in addition to a guest appearance in Season 4 -- attributing his departure to his mental and physical health at the time.
"I asked to step away because I cared more about my mental and physical health than my career at the time," Haynes said to Entertainment Weekly, remarking on the break he took from acting to re-focus his priorities. "I've had terminal anxiety my entire life. Physically ill, fainting. I'm 27 years old, and I have an ulcer. I had to step back."
The actor reflected on a major moment in his career, when headlines surfaced about his sexual orientation, and history with men: "It was a complete shock. I wasn't ready to be back in the headlines...I should have made a comment or a statement, but I just wasn't ready. I didn't feel like I owed anyone anything. I think in due time, everyone has to make those decisions when they're ready, and I wasn't yet. But I felt like I was letting people down by not coming forward with the rest of what I should have said."
Commenting on the struggles he's faced as a gay actor, Haynes said, "People who are so judgmental about those who are gay or different don't realize that acting 24 hours a day is the most exhausting thing in the world."
The actor remarked that things are now looking better, after having taken time for himself: "It took me so long to get to this point, but I'm doing so good. I'm happier than I've ever been, and healthier than I've ever been, and that's what I care about."
"Arrow" airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.