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Angus T. Jones opens up about leaving ‘Two and a Half Men’ over religious beliefs

Angus T. Jones on “Two and a Half Men.” (Greg Gayne/Warner Bros.)

The very public falling out between Angus T. Jones and “Two and a Half Men” raised an interesting question: What happens to the millionaire teen actor who goes on YouTube to call his show “filth” and begs people to stop watching?

It turns out … life goes on. That is, life goes on after the actor leaves the show. Jones, who has been under the radar since departing from the long-running Chuck Lorre comedy last year, opened up in an interview with the CBS affiliate in Houston on Monday, calling himself a former “paid hypocrite,” as he explained that the material on the raunchy sitcom conflicted with his beliefs as he “rediscovered” his Christian faith.

In case you missed the drama in November 2012: Jones appeared in a YouTube video posted by Alabama-based church Forerunner Chronicles, where he implored viewers to not watch the show and to “stop filling your head with filth.” Jones, then 19 years old and one of the highest-paid teen actors in history, continued: “You cannot be a true God-fearing person and be on a television show like [‘Two and a Half Men’]. I know I can’t,” he said. “I’m not okay with what I’m learning, what the Bible says, and being on that television show.”

Jones, who had just joined a Seventh-day Adventist church that year, later released an apology saying he was grateful for the opportunity to be on the series. At the time, he had been playing Jake Harper (Jon Cryer’s character’s son) since age nine, and by the end, reportedly made around $350,000 an episode. Post-YouTube incident, Jones was dropped as a series regular at the end of last season while he left to attend school.

Now, in Houston to speak at the World Harvest Outreach Church about his journey to find God, Jones sat down with the KHOU-TV station to discuss his mixed feelings about the show and why he wasn’t comfortable being involved. “It was making light of topics in our world that are really problems for a lot of people,” Jones said. “I was a paid hypocrite because I wasn’t okay with it, but I was still doing it.”

Jones also semi-apologized again for insulting his former boss’s (Lorre) TV show: “That’s his, like, his baby, and I just totally insulted his baby and to that degree I am apologetic,” Jones explained. “But otherwise I don’t regret saying what I said.”

You know what? That probably won’t thrill anyone at CBS — a network not unaccustomed to stars who dramatically leave that particular show. But in the end, it all worked out okay. Jones is spending time at church in Texas (he’s an Austin native) and going to college in Colorado. Over on “Two and a Half Men,” Amber Tamblyn replaced Jones’s character (she plays Charlie Harper’s illegitimate daughter) while the recently-renewed show’s ratings are still great in its 11th season.

In the TV world, that’s the best ending anyone could have hoped for.

Emily Yahr covers pop culture and entertainment for the Post. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyYahr.



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