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 Sheldon"In 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.

Steve Burns finally addressed his exit 20 years later

Nearly two decades after leaving "Blue's Clues," Steve Burns finally clued us in on the real reason for his abrupt departure... kinda. To celebrate the show's 25th anniversary in September, the original host filmed a video, dressed in his iconic green-striped shirt, along with a cap and glasses, discussing his decision to cut ties with the popular Nickelodeon series.

"You remember how when we were younger we used to run around and hang out with Blue and find clues and talk to Mr. Salt and freak about the mail and do all the fun stuff, and then one day I was like, 'Oh hey, guess what? Big news — I'm leaving' ... and we didn't see each other for like, a really long time?" Steve began. "I realize that was kind of abrupt."

"I just kinda got up and went to college," Steven continued. "That was really challenging, by the way, but great because I got to use my mind and take a step away ... and now I literally am doing many of the things that I wanted to do. And then look at you! And look at all you have done and all you have accomplished in all that time! It's just so amazing, right?" He added, "I wanted to tell you that I really couldn't have done all of that without your help." 

"I just wanted to say that, after all these years, I never forgot you... ever," Steve concluded. "And I'm super glad we're still friends."