01/10/2013 01:40 pm ET

Julianna Margulies Explains Why She Left 'ER' (VIDEO)

Wednesday on “Katie,” former "ER" actress Julianna Margulies looked back on her then-controversial decision to leave "ER" after its sixth season in 2000, leaving $27 million on the table. Even in a pre-Twitter age, Margulies had to deal with considerable public backlash for the move.

The current "Good Wife" star described the tone of the comments she got in the wake of her decision to leave "ER." "I think it was more like, 'Who does she think she is? You don't walk away from $27 million, money is power, that's what we all want.'" When she called her dad in tears, asking why the public was so angry with her over a personal decision, he helped her put it in perspective. "He said it really eloquently," Margulies remembered. "He said, 'Honey, you're saying no to the American dream.'"

In a March interview with "More," Margulies said she left "ER" because she was already financially secure and was looking for new challenges. "I had a year's worth of work waiting and a mortgage completely paid at age 32 ... My dad said, 'If you got hit by a bus tomorrow, were you living your life truthfully, or were you waiting to get rich?' If I died and my soul started leaving my body, would I be looking down going, 'You idiot. You could have gone to Prague, you could have been on Broadway'? Those are the things I wanted to do."

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