If you grew up in the late ’90s watching Nickelodeon, then there is a good chance you are familiar with the chipper, clue-searching Steve from “Blue’s Clues.”
Actor Steve Burns was the show’s host from 1996 until his departure in 2002. In his final episode, Steve introduced his “brother,” Joe, who would fill in as everyone’s new best friend as he headed off to college. However, four years later, in the 2006 special “Behind the Clues: 10 Years with Blue,” Burns said he always knew he would leave the series, and it was not because he wanted to pursue higher education.
“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, and it was happening fast,” Burns said.
In a new interview with Variety, Burns discussed in greater detail what motivated him to leave the show. “I didn’t know it yet, but I was the happiest depressed person in North America,” he said. “I was struggling with severe clinical depression the whole time I was on that show.”
While tracking the animated blue dog’s paw prints and putting together clues, Burns always appeared enthusiastic, but his reality was stark in contrast to his on-screen persona.
He continued: “It was my job to be utterly and completely full of joy and wonder at all times, and that became impossible. I was always able to dig and find something that felt authentic to me that was good enough to be on the show, but after years and years of going to the well without replenishing it, there was a cost.”
Last September, Burns had “Blue’s Clues” fans caught up in their feelings when he released a special message on social media. The show was celebrating its 25th anniversary, and fans had not seen Burns in well over a decade.
In the two-minute video, Burns reminisced about going off to college and all the ways the show has changed so many lives. “I just wanted to say, I never forgot you. Ever,” he said in the clip.
— Nick Jr. (@nickjr) September 7, 2021
As for how he’s doing today, Burns told the outlet he’s on the other side of his struggles with depression. Since then, he’s been able to build up the confidence to be in front of the camera again, joining his old pal Blue on a new journey, Blue’s Big City Adventure, which can now be streamed on Paramount+.