Jesse Metcalfe Says He Felt ‘Pressure’ to Stay Fit for Desperate Housewives Shirtless Scenes – PEOPLE

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“My appearance was also criticized and picked apart by a lot of people in the media,” the actor said of his time on the hit ABC series

Metcalfe, 43, starred in the ABC drama as teen gardener John Rowland — a role that frequently required him to film with his shirt off. During a recent interview with Vice's i-D Magazine, he said that aspect of the job created "pressure" for him. 

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"Being a sex symbol is very much about the roles that you play and my roles put me up on a pedestal," he said. "But my appearance was also criticized and picked apart by a lot of people in the media. Having your shirt off in every episode of Housewives brought a lot of pressure." 

Metcalfe continued, "You have to stay in the best shape you can and then between projects, everyone expects you to stay in that shape 24/7, 365. That's not realistic. That's why paparazzi catch actors between projects looking 'out of shape' — they're taking time off and that includes the gym." 

Jesse Metcalfe on Desperate Housewives

Jesse Metcalfe on Desperate Housewives

| Credit: Ron Tom/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

"You can run your body into the ground working out, not to mention the other things male actors do to stay fit," the actor added. 

The John Tucker Must Die star went on to say that he was "definitely caged" by his casting in Desperate Housewives. 

"The industry tends to think if you look a certain way that's all you have to offer," he said. "The best thing I could've done at that time was be patient, which I was not. I did a string of indie films that didn't work and should've kept my nose clean, so to speak. Between jobs, I just didn't know what to do with myself."

Still, he said that period following his exit from the show in 2009 was formative. "It definitely built character. I had to really look within and figure out who I really was because that's the foundation," Metcalfe said. 

jesse metcalfe

Jesse Metcalfe

| Credit: Kelsey McNeal/ABC via Getty Images

"I've done a lot of soul-searching and a lot of therapy. I've come out stronger and better having been through what I've been through in my career," he added. "I wouldn't go back and change anything. The pain you experience is nine times out of 10 a lesson you need to learn. That pain doesn't go away until you've learnt it." 

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Desperate Housewives, which first aired in 2004 and ran for 8 seasons before ending in 2012, followed the lives of four women whose lives were anything but idyllic despite the perfect facades they portrayed.

The show starred Teri Hatcher as Susan Mayer, Felicity Huffman as Lynette Scavo, Marcia Cross as Bree Van de Kamp and Eva Longoria as Gabrielle Solis. It earned a number of awards over the years, including a Golden Globe for best television series — comedy or musical in 2005 and 2006. 

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