LOST star Matthew Fox has defended his two year absence from the small screen, insisting it was important to have a break for both personal and professional reasons.

The TV heart-throb, who plays dashing surgeon Jack Sheppard in the hit series, took time out after finishing US sitcom Party Of Five to spend more time with his family and pursue theatre roles.

But the smouldering actor also admits he wanted to distance himself from the weak character Charlie Salinger he played in the 1990s TV show so he didn't get typecast.

Fox says, "I felt it was important to let people forget about me a bit - in that show, in that context, and with that particular character."