There are plenty of One Tree Hill fans that love Hilarie Burton and her OTH character of Peyton Sawyer. In a recent White Collar interview, Burton addressed the question about her returning to One Tree Hill for a finale. Unfortunately, it won’t be happening.
“Oh, man. I have such a fondness for that period in my life and I love all the people there, unfortunately it gets to a point where your personal life doesn’t necessarily allow a whole lot of room anymore for just jumping on a plane and going wherever. So while that’s a place that I love and it’s an experience in my life that I really love, I don’t think that it’s going to work out.” Burton continued that she’s still part of that world a little. “I still communicate with everybody back there. And I love them as a whole, but no I don’t think it’s going to work out. I’m sorry.”
Expanding on some of the reasons why a return isn’t feasible anymore, Burton talked about how she’s trying to take new career steps while balancing her new family life. “I am going through a growing phase in my life. I went through one when I first went down to North Carolina, I went through one a couple of years before my run on One Tree Hill ended, and I’m going through one now where I’m starting to look at what do I want out of the next five years of my life? I think I’m really, really happy with my personal life, that—everything there is sewn up and I’m very happy in that.
“So now, you know I’ve got a job that works perfect with my personal life. It’s in a place that I love and it’s with people that I really, really like. And so I’m going to ride this train as long as I can.”
If you think her leaving One Tree Hill was easy on her, think again. It doesn’t take a genius to know that though Burton has never spoken ill of the decision to write Peyton off the show, it was a surprise she had to recover from. “Oh man. I tell you what, there, there is always that stigma of, ‘You’re never gonna work again.’ And I was nervous about that. And I deliberately took some time off because my identity as Hilarie Burton got so wrapped up in one job (as Peyton.) And so I had already planned on taking some time off to myself to figure out what I liked to do, and make sure that I can be in a room by myself and like the person I’m sitting there with. And so, I took some time off and when I did start auditioning again, White Collar was like my third or fourth audition.”
True to her opimistic nature, Burton has only wonderful things to say about working on White Collar. She’s epsecially thankful for her role of the mature Sara. (It’s often difficult for actresses to be allowed to make the transition from playing younger roles to playing roles their own age.) “It’s a grown up job. It’s with people who, like I said before, have really figured out how to exist in this industry wholesomely. And so they do set a very good example for me as to how I can have everything I want, how I can have a great family and also a career that I’m proud of and so I feel at home on this show. I like being there.” And we like her there.
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