Dan Stevens Will Leave ‘Downton Abbey’ After This Season [PHOTOS]

Damn it, Matthew Crawley!  What will become of Downton Abbey without you?

Those of us in the states must wait for January 6th to come around, when season three of the British drama premieres on PBS.  In England, however, it’s come and gone, along with Tuesday’s Christmas special.

Today it was confirmed that Dan Stevens will leave the successful period drama, leaving a monstrous hole in our hearts and in the plot.

Stevens told the Telegraph (via TV Line) that leaving the show was “a very difficult decision.”  The actor did, however, make up his mind before season three began taping.

“It felt like a good time to take stock, to take a moment,” Stevens recalled.  “From a personal point of view, I wanted a chance to do other things.” 

Leaving Downton, Stevens described, came with “a strange sense of liberation at the same time as great sadness. because I am very, very fond of the show and always will be.”

Stevens currently stars in The Heiress on Broadway, and found that playing Matthew Crawley was very “monopolizing.”

I genuinely don’t know exactly what is around the corner,” Stevens said of his future, acknowledging that the life of an actor is an unpredictable one.  “But I hope it will be something a little bit different.”