After being a mainstay for 16 seasons, Adam Levine is not returning as a judge on The Voice, but he still appreciates what the competition show did for his career. The Maroon 5 frontman admitted that being on television every week really grew his fan base in an unexpected way.

“I think when the band made it and had that all going on in the early 2000s, I think I was really young and also, it was a different time,” the 40-year-old explained to Zane Lowe for Apple Music’s Beats 1 show during an interview on September 20. “So I think not everyone had a camera on them at all times and you enjoyed a certain kind of privacy that I think you don’t enjoy anymore. And then being on The Voice and stuff really changed that even more. You know, it kind of launched me into the bizarre territory of being, I guess for lack of a better phrase, a household name.” He added, “So then people’s grandparents know who you are, and then you know, it’s a different thing.”

Adam Levine, Pharrell Williams, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton on The Voice
Michael Buckner/Variety/Shutterstock

Fans were shocked in May when it was announced that Adam would not be returning to the show. The season 17 judges will be Gwen StefaniKelly ClarksonJohn Legend and Blake Shelton — which sounds incredible but the guitarist will be missed. He spoke about his surprising exit in a candid Instagram post on May 24. While he simply explained that “it was time to move on,” Adam gushed about all the love he has for the show.

“I am truly honored to have been a part of something I’ll always cherish for the rest of my life. Thank you to every single coach I ever sat in those chairs with. That is shared experience that is singularly ours. We have that for life. Thank you to everyone who supported this long strange and amazing left turn into a place I never thought I’d go,” he confessed in the lengthy caption.

He even shared the sweetest works about his on-air ~bromance~ with Blake and it sounds like the two will definitely miss each other. “BLAKE F—KIN’ SHELTON. I couldn’t hide my love for you if I tried. Seriously. I tried. Can’t do it. Our friendship is and always will be one for the books. Whatever this whole surreal experience was, I’m just happy I got to experience it with you,” he continued. “You’re my brother for life. Kelly and John, take care of the cowboy and I’m sure I’ll be back to say hi very very soon.”

One theory as to why the musician stepped away is to have more time to focus on his music and his family. Adam and his wife, Behati Prinsloo, share two daughtersDusty Rose, 2, and Gio Grace, 19 months — but a source exclusively dished to Life & Style that they would love to try for at least one more. “The thing Adam wants more than anything right now is a son. Behati is all for it, but she warns Adam that they could end up with another girl, which they would both be fine with,” the insider confessed. “Adam jokes that would just mean they’d have to keep trying for another boy.” Considering his wife previously told Ellen DeGeneres that the hunk “wants five,” having him home more would be extremely helpful.

Cheers to a new season!