Why Chris Meloni Chose to Get a Pilot’s License After Leaving ‘Law & Order SVU’

Law & Order SVU star Chris Meloni explored new passions after leaving the long-running procedural. One of the more surprising dreams he wanted to achieve was learning how to fly.

Chris Meloni once shared why he needed to move on from ‘Law & Order SVU’

Chris Meloni | Virginia Sherwood/Getty Images

SVU was very good to Meloni during his time on the hit television show. He recognized it gave him the kind of security he’d always longed for as a working actor. Especially when Meloni knew what it was like not having a guaranteed role in the earlier years of his career.

Leaving SVU was a tough decision, but one he thought was necessary.

“You work your whole career for what I got. You know, I hit the jackpot. I hit a show that meant something, was well-written, was well-received. You loved the working conditions and the people. It was a well-run machine. Every aspect was there. And yet, you know – the – fill in the blank. The artist in me, the restless actor or creator – that guy needed to move on,” Meloni once told npr.

The actor went on to star in several projects after SVU like True Blood and Man of Steel. But he also achieved goals outside of acting as well.

“I just worked on other projects, and I got my pilot’s license ’cause I figured I really needed to truly focus on something that was, without question, a life-or-death endeavor,” he revealed.

Meloni explained that he needed to shift his attention on something after leaving SVU. Learning how to fly planes seemed to be exactly what he was looking for.

“I built a whole life. And I knew if I was walking away from all that, I needed to place that focus ’cause, you know, if you’re an – unemployed – an actor unemployed is not a good thing, especially when he’s been employed,” he said. “So – and I knew that about myself. I needed to employ myself in something that was – that required every fiber of my being to stay focused and on top of things. And it was also good for my brain. I mean, I often said that I’ve never studied – I haven’t studied that hard since college…”

How Chris Meloni felt about the way he left ‘Law & Order SVU’


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Meloni has been a little more candid about his SVU departure over the years. In addition to wanting to pursue new endeavors, Meloni left the franchise because he couldn’t reach a compromise with execs.

“My thought was: Instead of 22 episodes, bring me back for nine episodes, or bring me back for 18 episodes. They literally came to me on a Thursday night and said, ‘This is the deal. We want the answer by tomorrow. It’s our way or no way,’” Meloni once told Men’s Health.

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Source:: Showbiz Cheat Sheet


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