Daytime Soap Expert Says Steve Burton's Fans Are 'on His Side' amid Shocking Separation Announcement

"They will stand by him ... I think this actually may have endeared him to fans," James Lott Jr., a TV/podcast host and CEO of JLJMEDIA who specializes in Daytime Dramas, said about Steve Burton

Steve Burton fans are rallying around him days after announcing his split from his pregnant wife, according to a daytime soap expert.

On Thursday, James Lott Jr. — a TV/podcast host and CEO of JLJMEDIA who specializes in Daytime Dramas — opened up about Burton's shocking announcement in which the actor also claimed the unborn child isn't his and gave some insight as to how the news will affect his standing with fans moving forward.

"I was shocked with the message he put out," Lott told PEOPLE. "It seemed out of place. He doesn't really talk like that a lot. He was very succinct. He was to the point and spilled the tea. It seemed out of character on his online life."

steve burton; James Lott Jr.
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The former General Hospital star revealed in his Instagram Story on Wednesday that he and the fitness pro, 47, are no longer together.

"I wanted to clear something up," he wrote, adding, "Sheree and I are separated."

Continued the 51-year-old actor, "She recently announced that she's expecting her 4th child. The child is not mine. We are still co-parenting our three beautiful kids. We would appreciate privacy at this time. Much luv, Steve." Ex General Hospital Star Steve Burton Reveals He and Pregnant Wife Sheree Burton are Separated and Says Child Isn't His
steve burton/instagram

While fans were quick to speculate, Lott said the majority of his followers are in support of Burton and actually "feel bad for him."

"They're on his side," he said. "Some daytime drama fans are very territorial and they'll scream and holler at you, but next minute, if you get hurt, they're right there for you. It's like family. They'll say you're wrong, but then they'll be with you when you need something."

"Once you love him, you love him unconditionally," added Lott, who has met Burton at various social gatherings and described him as "genuine and very gregarious."

He continued, "They will stand by him. I think this actually may have endeared him to fans."

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PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - MAY 05: Sheree Gustin and Steve Burton attend the 46th annual Daytime Emmy Awards at Pasadena Civic Center on May 05, 2019 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
David Crotty/Patrick McMullan/getty

The actor and Sheree married in 1999 after meeting on the set of General Hospital. Steve –– who shares daughters Makena, 18, and Brooklyn, 7, as well as son Jack, 16, with Sheree — did not clarify how long they have been separated.

Sheree has not publicly spoken out about their separation and has since deactivated her Instagram account.

She recently announced she's pregnant when she posted a photo of her side profile on her Instagram Story, holding her baby bump, as shared by a General Hospital fan blog.

Steve's announcement comes nearly six months after he was let go from General Hospital for not complying with the show's mandate for the coronavirus vaccine.

"I know there's been a lot of rumors and speculations about me and General Hospital. I wanted you to hear it from me personally," he said in the clip. "Unfortunately, General Hospital has let me go because of the vaccine mandate. I did apply for my medical and religious exemptions, and both of those were denied, which, you know, hurts."

He continued, "But this is also about personal freedom to me. I don't think anyone should lose their livelihood over this. But with that being said, you know me, I'll always be grateful for my time at General Hospital, I love it there."

"Maybe one day if these mandates are lifted, I can return and finish my career as Jason Morgan. That would be an honor," he concluded, referencing the character he has played off and on since 1991.

steve burton
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Now, Burton is set to return to his Days of Our Lives role of Harris Michaels, which he first took on in 1988. The actor is will appear in the second season of Peacock's spinoff Days of Our Lives: Beyond Salem, which premieres on July 11, per Soap Central.

"People are excited and people are talking," Lott said about Burton's return. "The buzz is happening. They're happy to see him back. It's interesting too, the timing of this all."

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