Regé-Jean Page announces his departure from ‘Bridgerton’: ‘The love is real’

Netflix announced in January that the insanely popular drama series is returning for a second season

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Regé-Jean Page, the breakout star on the hit drama series Bridgerton, announced Friday that his character– Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings–will not appear in the upcoming second season. 

Netflix and Shondaland broke the hearts of millions of fans on Friday with the notice from Lady Whistledown that the hunky British-Zimbabwean will not be returning to the insanely popular series. 

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(Credit: Getty Images)

“Dear Readers, while all eyes turn to Lord Anthony Bridgerton’s quest to find a Viscountess, we bid adieu to Regé-Jean Page, who so triumphantly played the Duke of Hastings,” the message posted on Instagram began.

Read More: Shonda Rhimes’ ‘Bridgerton’ has become Netflix’s biggest series ever

“We’ll miss Simon’s presence onscreen, but he will always be a part of the Bridgerton family,” it continued. “Daphne will remain a devoted wife and sister, helping her brother navigate the upcoming social season and what it has to offer – more intrigue and romance than my readers may be able to bear.”

Page shared the message on Twitter, along with the caption “Pleasure and a privilege! An honour to be a member of the family – on and off screen, cast, crew and incredible fans – the love is real and will just keep growing,” he wrote.

News of his departure is not all that surprising of fans of the books, as the first season of this Regency-era period drama followed the first novel in the bestselling Bridgerton book series by Julia Quinn, The Duke and I. Created by Chris Van Dusen, the show features an ensemble cast, with the main story of season 1 following the complicated romance between Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and The Duke of Hastings (Page).

As theGrio previously reported, Netflix announced in January that Bridgerton is returning for a second season. The renewal was announced by Lady Whistledown, the Gossip Girl-like character who narrated the first season. The official announcement read, “The incomparable cast of Bridgerton will return to production in Spring 2021.”

It also hinted that the main story will follow Lord Anthony Bridgerton, Daphne’s brother. This implied the new season will follow the second novel in the series, The Viscount Who Loved Me.

The announcement of a second season was expected as Bridgerton was an instant ratings hit for the streamer. Netflix announced on Jan. 4 that in the “first four weeks, it’s projected that 63 million households will have courted Shondaland’s Bridgerton.”

Page previously shared with Variety that part of the reason why the role of Simon was so appealing was due to the short-term commitment.

Read More: ‘SNL’ gets ratings boost thanks to ‘Bridgerton’ star Regé-Jean Page

“It’s a one-season arc. It’s going to have a beginning, middle, end – give us a year,” Page said. “I get to come in, I get to contribute my bit and then the Bridgerton family rolls on.”

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He also noted that fans of the Bridgerton books come to TV series already knowing the plot points and character arcs.

“One of the things that is different about this [romance] genre is that the audience knows the arc completes,” he explained. “They come in knowing that, so you can tie people in emotional knots because they have that reassurance that we’re going to come out and we’re going to have the marriage and the baby.”

When the series debuted in December, it became the number 1 show on Netflix, streaming in 76 countries. 

*theGrio’s Jared Alexander contributed to this story.

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