Hilarie Burton Discusses ‘One Tree Hill’ Exit

Soon-to-be-former One Tree Hill star Hilarie Burton talks to E! Online about her imminent departure from the series, and guess what? Despite the fact that she was in contract negotiations at the time of the split, Burton claims it wasn’t about the money.

“There really wasn’t a lot of turmoil. It was a fabulous six-year run, which is how long my contract was for, and I feel really lucky to have been a part of the show,” Burton clarifies. “So when I hear that there’s turmoil or negotiations based on money it kind of hurts my feelings, because it’s not what’s been going on at all. I think my fan base in particular knows that money isn’t necessarily a big motivator for me, that’s why I work in the world of independent film.”

As for whether it was her decision or the show’s decision for her to leave, Burton hedges a bit.

“I think everyone was kind of agreeable about the situation. There were a lot of really wonderful conversations. It wasn’t a rash decision; a lot of thought, emotion, and kindness was put into it. I would hope that that’s the story that gets out—that it was a bunch of adults being good to each other and being kind about the decision-making process.”

She continues, “The conversations that they had with me were very compassionate and very sweet. They told me that they valued me, and that meant a lot. And they also wanted me to be happy and challenged and excited.”

Hmm; it’s one thing to be “valued,” and another to be kept on. But Burton appears to be happy with the final outcome, and says that scoring the role of Peyton Sawyer was “a fairytale.  I feel really lucky to have that level of success right out of the gate.”

As for what’s next for Burton, she says that she’ll be shooting a Web series starting on Memorial Day. “We’ve also got a television show that we’re turning into a graphic novel, and we’ve got a film we’re raising money for,” she offers. “I’m busy.”