Entertainment

Jesse Metcalfe Went From a Soap Actor to a Country-Singing Hallmark Star

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Jesse Metcalfe has been a regular face on the Hallmark Channel for years. Though born in Carmel Valley, California, Metcalfe spent most of his childhood in Connecticut where he was actually a really talented basketball player. After high school, he moved to New York and discovered acting. Metcalfe's career started with a bang when he booked the role of Miguel Lopez-Fitzgerald on the NBC soap opera Passions. After booking the role, he dropped out of NYU and moved out to Hollywood, spending the next five years working on his craft.

"It was a lot of hard work," Metcalfe told Schon Magazine. "They say that soaps are a great training ground, and I think they really are. They provide a safe space to make a lot of mistakes while teaching you how to memorize a lot of material very quickly... At that time in my life, I wasn't really aware of a lot of pressure. I was just kind of enjoying the moment."

But it was his role as the hunky gardener John Rowland who romances Eva Longoria on Desperate Housewives that really helped bring Metcalfe to the next level and is one of the roles he's still best known for. His stint as the teen that has an affair with an older woman got the attention of casting directors and even earned him a Choice TV Breakout Performance at the Teen Choice Awards. His career has been steady ever since. He was the title character in the teen film John Tucker Must Die, acted opposite Michael Douglas in Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, starred as Christopher Ewing in the TNT reboot of Dallas, and since 2016 has starred on Hallmark's Chesapeake Shores as Trace Riley.

"There's a lot of soul in Chesapeake Shores. We try to keep the characters and storylines as grounded and real and relatable as possible, and I think that's why the show has found its niche at the network... We're trying to emulate real life. It's cool, and I think it's a departure from the status quo," he explained.

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One of the coolest parts about Metcalfe's relationship with the Hallmark Channel is they really listen to his ideas and input. It was actually his idea to make the character of Trace a musician and now he gets to show off his own singing chops on the show.

"I was very much involved in the creative process of the show from the very beginning," he recalled. "My character in the books was an architect, and I personally didn't think that would be as interesting as him being a musician. I think everyone involved agreed, and that idea started to take shape.

"It's really the most fun aspect of the show for me, getting to play music on the show. Some of it is my own original music, too."

In his most recent venture with the beloved network, Metcalfe is starring and producing a new mystery series -- A Beautiful Place to Die: A Martha's Vineyard Mystery is the first in the new series set on Martha's Vineyard. Metcalfe stars as Jeff Jackson, a former Boston detective who returns home only to get sucked into helping local officials with crime-solving. While teamed up with the lovely medical examiner, Zee Madieras (Sarah Lind), he might find love in the process. He also does most of his own stunts in the films, which are a bit more action-packed than the typical Hallmark film.

"I just love that he is an incredibly layered character with a somewhat dark past, and he generally deflects any deep question or hides from his emotions with his humor and his irreverence, so there's a lot of opportunities to make a lot of interesting choices with this character because he's somewhat of a flawed hero in his story," Metcalfe explained to TV Insider.

Of course, like any good Hallmark actor, Metcalfe has also starred in multiple Christmas films for the festive network including Christmas Next Door and Christmas Under the Stars. And let's not forget A Country Wedding which was not set during the holidays, but was definitely a classically romantic Hallmark story.

This year, the actor went a little outside the box and decided to be a contestant on Dancing With the Stars. He competed on the ABC show with professional dancer Sharna Burgess but was eliminated after just a few episodes. But he's still proud of what he did because he joined DWTS with literally no dance experience at all. 

"I feel like I had more to give," Metcalfe told Good Morning America. "I have a lot of potential, I feel like I didn't get the opportunity to live up to my full potential."

Outside of his ever-growing filmography, Metcalfe ended his relationship of over a decade with actress Cara Santana earlier this year. He recently shared pics with his new girlfriend Corin Jamie-Lee Clark on Instagram, officially announcing his new relationship to the world. Hoping things work out for the actor and we really can't wait to see more of his new Martha's Vineyard Mystery series!

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Jesse Metcalfe Went From a Soap Actor to a Country-Singing Hallmark Star