“Downton Abbey” Star Dan Stevens Won't Return For Fourth Season

"From a personal point of view, I wanted a chance to do other things," he says.

One of the stars of the popular PBS series "Downton Abbey" is leaving the show after the third season. And if you don't want to know how the show addresses Dan Stevens' exit, stop reading now.

Stevens will not be returning for the show's fourth season as his character, Matthew Crawley, was killed in an auto accident in the Christmas special that aired in U.K. on Tuesday.

"We were always optioned for three years and when that came up it was a very difficult decision," Stevens told the Telegraph. "But it felt like a good time to take stock, to take a moment. From a personal point of view, I wanted a chance to do other things."

Stevens added that working on "Downton Abbey" was a "monopolizing job" and that he made the decision to leave the series before he started filming season 3, which begins airing in the U.S on Jan. 3.

“So there is 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.” he said.

Even before his untimely death, Steven's character Matthew Crawley has had his fair share of turmoil. He almost died in season 2 when he was wounded and paralyzed during combat in World War I. He was also in a passionate and unpredictable courtship with Lady Mary, which was finally settled at the end of season 2 with a much-anticipated marriage proposal.

The fourth season of "Downton Abbey" is scheduled to start shooting in winter 2013. Meanwhile, Stevens is appearing on Broadway with Jessica Chastian in "The Heiress." He also plans on adding more films to his resume.

“I haven’t done as many films as I would have liked,” he said. “A lot of my contemporaries have done more. I don’t have ‘I will be a movie star’ emblazoned on anything, but I’d like do a bit more screen stuff and then when the time is right come back to theater.

Stevens is starring in and executive producing the upcoming independent film "Summer in February"

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