Though Connie Britton has sadly departed Nashville as the beloved main character Rayna Jaymes, there is still plenty more story left to tell. Fellow star Charles Esten offers insight into where his character, Deacon Claybourne, may go from here after the tragic loss of his true love.

"Deacon’s been to the rock bottom and with the help of Rayna, he found his strength and he was able to be strong and stand up and be the man he always wanted to be," Esten tells Taste of Country. "Now in the light of this we'll have to the question, did she help make him strong enough that he can even survive without her?"

While specific details of his character’s arc are unknown, Esten says Deacon made a vow to Rayna that he hopes is upheld. "One of the last things he did with Rayna was promise her that he would take care of these girls, so the challenge is can he do that, can he stand up and be the man that he needs to be?" the actor questions.

Esten recently opened up about filming the heartbreaking death scene with Britton and their TV daughters Maddie and Daphne (Lennon and Maisy Stella) as the trio sing to her in her final moments. The Nashville star explains that as an actor, filming emotional scenes is almost like therapy, allowing the actor to tap into similar emotions from real life experiences.

"In another way, it’s also cathartic, it helps you process that pain [and] in a real way you’re helping other people to process pain," he explains. "As hard as that was, honestly tears can be cleansing, there’s people that that scene meant very specific to them and their memory and hopefully on the other side of it that helped bring them forward in some way, especially along with the music that can do that job as well."

Nashville is currently on a midseason break. Season 5 wraps in June of 2017.

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