Christopher Meloni is opening up in a new interview to reveal the real reason he left his role as Detective Elliot Stabler on “Law & Order: SVU” ten years ago.

Meloni told Men’s Health that when NBC declined to pay him more money for the show, he offered them a solution.

“My thought was: Instead of 22 episodes, bring me back for nine episodes, or bring me back for 18 episodes,” he explained. “They literally came to me on a Thursday night and said, ‘This is the deal. We want the answer by tomorrow. It’s our way or no way.’”

This infuriated Meloni, who fired back by saying, “I don’t want to f**k around with you guys. This is what I want. If you can’t do it, that’s fine. Let’s figure out my exit.”

Now, however, Meloni is back as Stabler on his show “Law & Order: Organized Crime,” and he has a more laid back approach this time around.

“This time around with the Law & Order ride, I’m not stressed by: Will it go well? Will it not go well? Not that I know how it’s going to go,” he said of the new show, which just got renewed for season 2. “Just that, eh, just ride. Just do, just be.”

Over the past decade, Meloni has gotten a new perspective on what is important in life.

“There are bigger things, more important things. I know how important this is to me, but I have a clearer vision of life,” he said. “I know a little more about love. I know a little more about real pain. I know about joy. I know better management skills. As you go through life, you get a clearer understanding of things, of your holes and of your gifts.”

When told that he is currently having a “cultural moment,” he replied, “My a** is.”

“It’s cool as s**t,” he added. “The aspect of age comes into play as far as the cover of [this magazine] and how I feel about it. A friend of mine said, ‘Did you ever think in a million years you’d be on the cover of Men’s Health?’ I said, ‘Certainly not at age 60.’”

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