Charlie Hunnam Promises That Leaving '50 Shades of Grey' Was Not About All That Kinky Sex

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Charlie Hunnam at the ‘Sons of Anarchy’ premiere (Getty Images)

It’s been two years since Charlie Hunnam dropped out of Fifty Shades of Grey, and the Sons of Anarchy and Pacific Rim star is still devastated about the very public split.

“It was the worst professional experience of my life,” Hunnam, 35, tells V Man Magazine in their new issue. “It was the most emotionally destructive and difficult thing that I’ve ever had to deal with professionally. It was heartbreaking… There was a lot of personal stuff going on in my life that left me on real emotional shaky ground and mentally weak.”

Hunnam, who stars in his Pacific Rim director Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming horror film Crimson Peak, also reiterated that it was intense scheduling that was mostly to blame for his exit — not any fears over E.L. James’ hit novel’s many explicit S&M sex scenes. "I’d given Guillermo my word, over a year before, that I was going to do this film. People were saying, ‘Are you crazy? Guillermo still has got four months to recast, it’s the fourth lead, you can go and do this [instead],‘” he remembered. “I said, 'I can’t. He’s my friend, I’ve done a film with him, I gave him my word.'”

“The outside perception of that was that I got really cold feet and got scared of the explicit nature of the sexuality of the piece,” said Hunnam, who began his career by starring in the racy British TV show Queer as Folk. “When I was 18, I was getting f—ed in the ass, completely naked on national TV, y'know?”

Though fans were disappointed by his exit, 50 Shades’ box office didn’t suffer for it; Irish actor Jamie Dornan was eventually cast opposite Dakota Johnson as the elusive and kinky billionaire Christian Grey and the movie wound up making $569.6 million worldwide. The film’s sequel, Fifty Shades Darker, will be directed by James Foley and hits theaters in 2017.