The Real Reason Steve Quit Blue's Clues

When Steve Burns announced his departure from Nickelodeon's Blue's Clues in 2002, the news broke the hearts of children and parents alike. Since 1996, the actor became widely beloved playing the friendly owner of a little blue spotted dog named Blue, who leaves clues all over the house. But after six years and 100 episodes, Burns decided it was time to say goodbye to the children's show that made him famous.

On-screen, Steve departed for college in his last episode and left Blue in the care of his brother Joe (played by Donovan Patton). Off-screen, people widely speculated about Burns' reason for leaving. Rumors swirled that Burns wanted to leave Blue's Clues to pursue a music career, fell into drug addiction and even died, but he always debunked those false reports, according to MTV News. While he did have a music career, Burns said that wasn't the primary reason he left the Nickelodeon series.

Read on to find out the real reason Burns quit Blue's Clues.

Steve Burns was going bald

During the 2006 Nickelodeon special Behind the Clues: 10 Years with Blue (via Business Insider), Burns said he realized he was losing his hair quickly at age 29. It became the main reason why he left Blue's Clues. "I knew I wasn't going to be doing children's television all my life, mostly because I refused to lose my hair on a kid's TV show," Burns said. "And it was happening ... fast."

In addition to his hair loss, the actor and musician felt like he was at a crossroads in life. After chasing down Blue's clues in 100 episodes of the series, Burns wanted to pursue other projects in acting and music, according to HuffPost. Plus, many of the people he worked with on the TV show started to move on in their careers. In 2016, Burns told HuffPost, "It just felt like time."

In 2002, when his tenure on Blue's Clues came to an end, Burns moved on to another chapter in his career — in both music and acting.

Steve Burns released several albums

After Blue's Clues, Steve Burns made a splash as a musician. In 2003, Burns released his first album, Songs for Dustmites. One of the album's tracks, "Mighty Little Man" was used as the theme song of the CBS sitcom, Young SheldonIn 2004, Burns told Spin Magazine that Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb, inspired the single. "I wanted to write a positive, empowering exclamation point of a song," Burns said.

Then in 2009, Burns released another album — this time, for children — called Deep Sea Recovery Efforts with his band, The Struggle. Additionally, Burns continued to act as well. According to IMDb, Burns appeared in Young Sheldon, The Professionals, Netherbeast Incorporated, and Christmas on Mars. In 2017, he also released a musical Audible audiobook called Foreverywhere about a unicorn and a group of fantastical misfits who form a rock band and deal with mystical obstacles — including a rival band.

Steve returned to 'Blue's Clues' in 2019

Blue's Clues went off the air in 2006, but returned as the Nickelodeon revival series Blue's Clues & You!, starring Josh Dela Cruz, in 2019. In the premiere, Burns appeared along with on-screen brother Joe (played by Donovan Patton).

In an interview with ScaryMommy, Burns shared his enthusiasm for the revival and his new behind-the-scenes role. "I'm writing, directing, and all that stuff, and mentoring Josh a bit," he said. According to IMDb, Burns is a consulting producer on the series, while also writing two episodes and directing four. Even though he never intended to reappear on-screen, Burns said he pitched the idea that Steve grew up to be a detective — but not a very good one. The producers loved it so much they convinced Burns to appear as Steve again in the premiere in 2019.

While so much time has passed, Steve still has a sweet connection to Blue. During the premiere, Steve and Joe help their cousin Josh with a set of Blue's clues that stumped him via the new video phone function of their handy dandy notebooks — a nifty technological advance in the Blue's Clues world. Then, in December 2020, Burns made another appearance as Steve in the Blues Clues & You! holiday episode. The character returns to help Blue and Josh decorate their Christmas tree — and Blue was so happy to see him!

Although Burns' Blue's Clues departure broke fans' hearts, it sounds like he's more involved in the show than ever — on-screen and off.