As Digest first reported in the 11/29 issue Jackson's decision to leave was, in part, due to the toll of playing constant heavy, emotional storylines since his return in late 2009.
"They really did beat him into the ground story wise," Herbst says. "It was one tragedy after another for him. We had talked about it for a long time, that he was unhappy playing all that [dark] material. He came back to GH under the impression that they would reunite Liz and Lucky, and so we kept waiting for that to happen and it never seemed like it was on the canvas. That's what we anticipated happening. That's what we were told was happening, so I'm not quite sure how it played out the way it did. Jonathan is a very strong person and he was able to step back and look at what he was getting out of all this and it wasn't fulfilling him the way he had hoped. He knows there's more to life than waking up every day playing tragedy after tragedy and not playing out what he was promised, so his decision was to leave."Herbst adds that she's happy the writers didn't decide to send the star-crossed lovers off into the sunset together -- especially since the actress's 2011 started off with her being unceremoniously dumped from the cast then quickly rehired after fan outcry.
"Apparently, Garin [Wolf, head writer] has plans for Elizabeth, and I look forward to playing that out," Herbst smiles. "I am sad and disappointed that we weren't able to explore the depths of Liz and Lucky's relationship, but I am interested in seeing what happens next."