Ryan Thomas turned down a big-money deal to return to Coronation Street this year, Daily Star can reveal.
The Manchester-born hunk was asked to reprise his role as Jason Grimshaw for the soap's "Diamond Jubilee" 60th anniversary.
He said: "They did ask me back, but I was away at the time. I was away or something was going on.
"I just wasn't around at the time otherwise I would have been there."
Corrie bosses spent months planning special episodes to mark the show hitting 60.
Bosses pulled out all the stops to make them must-see TV despite them being filmed under coronavirus restrictions.
Ryan played Jason on the show for 16 years before leaving in 2016. He said: "The show has a place close to my heart. I’m honoured I could be a part of it for so long.
"It has been a massive part of a lot of people's lives. Even the theme tune!"
Corrie first aired in 1960 and was only expected to last a few weeks.
On December 9 it will mark its 60th anniversary.
Ryan said: "To see where it has come from the first episode to where it is now is absolutely amazing.
"And there are so many talented and incredible actors that have come out of it like Suranne Jones and Katherine Kelly."
Ryan and his fiancée Lucy Mecklenburgh welcomed their first baby together into the world in March.
The former TOWIE star recently opened up about her journey as a parent after being questioned by a fan.
When asked if she experienced days where she "didn't want to be a mum", she replied: "Absolutely, and I think that anyone who says they don't, they're probably lying.
"It's really tough, it's the hardest job in the world, and I think that's a really normal feeling. I've had it before when he's started crying at like 5:30am in the morning and I've thought, 'I don't want to do it today!'"
Ryan has teamed up with his brothers Adam and Scott for new podcast Mancs On The Mic.
New episodes are available every Wednesday on Global Player.