Why did Jake T. Austin leave The Fosters?

Jake T Austin 2

(RELATED–The Fosters cast explains why Jake T. Austin left the show)

Why did Jake T. Austin leave The Fosters? There’s been a great swirl of speculation, implication, and gossip since the 21-year-old took his final bow from the popular ABC Family melodrama, but no one has been able to wrangle a definitive answer from the lad himself.

Austin has been intriguingly silent on the topic; he’s said almost nothing about The Fosters or his time on the show since announcing his departure via two brief, civil tweets last spring:


  Jake T. Austin’s last missives regarding The Fosters came the day after the season two finale, “The End of the Beginning,” which featured his character, Jesus Adams-Foster, getting in what appeared to be a nasty car accident. A spring of “Who shot JR”-like interest in the show ensued, and many Fosters fans assumed that Jesus would simply not survive the accident–or that, if he did survive, his face would have been so badly mutilated by the shattering of the car window that a heavily bandaged stand-in could serve as Jesus in the short-term, while producers searched for a handsome replacement. Jake T Austin 4 Of course, those fears were mostly allayed when the show’s producers announced that Jake T. Austin’s departure meant Jesus would simply be recast. The search did take awhile, though, as the announcement wasn’t made until the night of The Fosters’ season three premiere. Two months later, Noah Centineo (of Austin & Ally fame) had assumed Austin’s duties, and debuted as Jesus in The Fosters‘ midseason finale: Jokes about the diet at his boarding school aside, most Fosters fans remain puzzled about the real reasons that Jake T. Austin left the show. Was it a fight with producers? Did he disagree with the way Jesus was being portrayed, or feel that the character wasn’t getting interesting stories? Or did Austin’s growing bad-boy image–he was arrested on DUI charges at age nineteen, and only barely avoided a related hit-and-run charge in 2014–clash with the wholesome depictions of life that The Fosters aims to provide?

The answer could be a mix of all of the above possibilities. In an interview with Latina just before the season two premiere, Austin explained his hopes for his character: “Jesus is struggling to find himself as a man in a house full of ladies [and Brandon],” he told the publication. “As he takes on more responsibilities…Jesus navigates the pressures of growing up and life as a teenager, while becoming a more mature guy all around.” However, that maturity wasn’t always on display.

And, while Jesus’ wrestling storylines were an opportunity for Austin to show off his physique, the show’s decision to send Jesus out of state for the rest of his secondary education likely didn’t sit well with the always-ambitious Jake T. Austin.

Jake T Austin 5 Indeed–in an interview with Galore from early 2015, shortly before his abrupt departure from The Fosters, Austin’s ambition was on full display. When asked what he next wanted to check off of his bucket list, Austin responded “Direct a film.” And, when faced with the question “Do you have any goals for this year,” the then-20-year-old was blunt: “Work harder and be more spontaneous.”

Jumping off the Fosters ship seemed to his fans to be nothing if not a spontaneous decision. At the same time, though, Jake T. Austin’s IMDB bio features no acting credits since he left The Fosters, and no forthcoming work at all for 2016. If, as many fans believe, Austin took off because he wanted to work on more mature projects, it seems he might still struggle with being typecast as the adorable Disney type he spent his teen years perfecting.  

(Photo credits: Jake T. Austin via Twitter)

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