Charles Esten Says Last Night’s Episode of “Nashville” Was “Painful On Every Level”

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*Obviously, this article contains spoilers, so turn back now or forever hold your peace.

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So, after literal years of watching Charles Esten and Connie Britton (aka Deacon and Rayna) fall in and out and in and out of love, fans finally got to see them get married and settle down last season — but now, that’s all over.

Thanks to last night’s episode, Nashies are left with a hole in their heart the size of Rayna Jaymes. Following that surprising car crash that took place last week, the “Nashville” superstar was devastatingly killed off the show.

Honestly, I’m in angry tears — aren’t you?

According to co-star and on-screen lover Charles, this episode and those fatal scenes were the “hardest” he’s had to film thus far.

During an interview with EW, the 51-year-old actor and singer talked about Rayna’s surprising death, and what it’ll be like moving on with the show without their star.

“Those were the hardest scenes I’ve ever shot by far,” Charles said. “But for different reasons. Some scenes are hard to shoot because you don’t know what to do with it. This is not that. Other things are so hard to shoot because you’re trying to tap into an emotion that you don’t authentically feel. This is not that either. This one’s very unusual in that it’s just a tough, hard place to go. You’re saying goodbye to this character who we authentically love. On top of that, we were saying goodbye to our friend Connie. It’s almost like college: You’ll still be friends with those people but you won’t see them every single day.”

After the episode aired, Charles posted a message on Instagram, thanking Connie for the years they spent together.

Though he’s sad to see her go, Charles has nothing but gratitude for the time he spent on screen with Connie.

“From the day I met her I’m on record as having honestly walked up to her and said, ‘There’s a million reasons I’m excited to do this show. You’re a couple hundred of them,'” Charles said. “My wife and I we’re huge ‘Friday Night Lights’ fans, so I started off a fan and I ended this run with her even more a fan. I’ll be as happy as anybody else when I see what her next thing is and she’ll be fantastic in that too and I’ll be watching.”

But, for Charles, saying goodbye and channeling that emotion was “painful on every level.”

“Deacon doesn’t want to let her go and it’s killing him emotionally, but also he wants as peaceful and kind and as good a goodbye as you can give,” he said. “You want peace for them, even if you have no measure of it at all in your own heart in that moment.”

And, the fact that his and Connie’s on-screen daughters, Lennon and Maisy Stella, were involved made it even harder.

“The children made it harder,” he said. “They’re dealing with it at a younger age and so all of my instincts of protection kick in and Connie’s too. Anytime you bring kids into the mix, that makes it even more difficult.”

Well, cheers to you two — you’ll always be my favorite on-screen couple.

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