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Early on in the series Breaking Bad, it is revealed that Walt and Gretchen had a history together with Elliot in the construction of their company "Grey Matter".

However, one day while on vacation with Gretchen, Walt started packing and abandoned everything to do with that life, including Gretchen, his significant other at the time.

What caused this sudden change in personality to give up everything that he loved in exchange for seemingly nothing at the time?

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I think that question will be answered b/c VG said all questions will be answered. I think why Walt left is a crucial question as to why he became who he became. Why did he leave a company he helped create and then reject an offer to come back. I think something big happened at Grey Matter which started him on the road to become Heisenberg. Moreover, VG was interviewed by Charlie Rose and Charlie let slip that he was in the last episode which VG said that was a big spoiler. Why a big spoiler? I think b/c Charlie will play himself and there are only two characters in the show he would interview –  user5765 Aug 13 '13 at 0:59
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Gretchen had a thing for Pontiac Azteks... Walt realized she was just interested in his Pontiac Aztek, so he dumped her and the billion dollar company. –  user7414 Jan 1 at 22:13
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3 Answers

The question is answered very well here in an AMC blog posting an interview with the actress who played Gretchen:

Q: What’s it like have Bryan Cranston curse at you?

A: Oh man, he’s a good actor. But it was easy because Vince Gilligan told us exactly what went down between the characters off screen: We were very much in love and we were to get married. And he came home and met my family, and I come from this really successful, wealthy family, and that knocks him on his side. He couldn’t deal with this inferiority he felt — this lack of connection to privilege. It made him terrified, and he literally just left me, and I was devastated. Walt is fighting his way out of going back to that emotional place, so he says, “F— you.” - actress who plays Gretchen AMC blog

Source

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This is the best answer. I think the down votes are due to lack of context up front. I have edited it. –  ktamlyn Sep 24 '13 at 17:16
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The exact reasons surrounding Walter leaving Grey Matter were never covered during show's run. The only in-show information to go on is from the Breaking Bad Wikia page for Grey Matter:

...he [Walter] was dating his female lab assistant, Gretchen ("...and the Bag's in the River"). For reasons not yet explained, Walter suddenly left Gretchen during a vacation with her family, leaving her and his research behind ("Peekaboo").

Further details were then hinted at during the season 5 episode ("Buyout"), when Walter discussed leaving Grey Matter with Jesse. He shares his story about how he sold his stake in the company for $5000 while trying to justify why they shouldn't be selling out their current operation. This scene showcases his embarrassment over leaving his ideas and his creations behind and clearly demonstrates his regret in leaving but doesn't allude further into the details of why.

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Thought so, currently re-watching now that the date of the final part has been announced. –  TylerShads Apr 19 '13 at 14:03
    
I hope very much that in the final half of season 5 that many of these loose ends are tied up! I do agree that a re-watching is in order, it's been quite a while since the last episode. –  user1887 Apr 19 '13 at 14:05
    
Something stated by Odenkirk (Goodman) that the finale will tie up "all loose ends". –  TylerShads Apr 19 '13 at 14:07
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That sounds like lots of melting people in acid to me! –  user1887 Apr 19 '13 at 14:10
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Walt and Gretchen were an item. Elliot teams up with them to start Gray Matter. Gretchen cheats on Walt with Elliot. Heartbroken and betrayed, Walt leaves Gretchen and Elliott and, in the process, all of Gray Matter.

The show never spelled it out clearly, but there were enough hints to point to what seems an obvious and believable reason as to why Walt left.

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Though I've just read the answer directly above my own and I suppose, if that is what Vince himself said, that there is your answer. Though I still favor my own guess, especially if Walt's sense of betrayal is to be justified (ex. "cheer up, beautiful people. this is where you get to make it right."). The company becoming so popular without him, and their lack of crediting Walt with creating the secret to Gray Matter, don't seem "betrayal" enough, though with Walt's love for his blue meth, you can imagine the relationship he developed with his Gray Matter creation was pretty personal. –  Seth Oct 10 '13 at 18:01
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protected by Dredd Jan 2 at 14:16

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