Jennifer Esposito is taking issue with CBS' account of her departure from the police procedural Blue Bloods.
"Jennifer has informed us that she is only available to work on a very limited part-time schedule," the network says in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "As a result, she’s unable to perform the demands of her role and we regretfully had to put her character on a leave of absence. She is a wonderfully talented actress and we hope that she will be able to return at some point in the future."
But the actress, who is struggling with Celiac disease, tells a different side of the story. On Twitter, Esposito has blasted CBS for not giving the full story of her departure, saying the network placed her on unpaid leave and barred her from working elsewhere after her doctor said she "needed a reduced schedule" because of her condition.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder affecting the small intestine and caused by reaction to wheat proteins; symptoms include fatigue and people diagnosed with the disease transition to a gluten-free diet. Esposito recently started the Jennifer's Way Foundation for Celiac Education, and according to the website, her mission is "to elevate this debilitating autoimmune disease into the national spotlight."
She tweeted: "CBS didn't listen to my doc and I collapsed on set. Which everyone saw! After a week off my doc said I could return to work but CBS ... (i)mplied that I was NOT truly ill and this was a scheme to get a raise! It's been almost two months without (bringing) me back to work + keeping (m)e from working anywhere else! ... Absolutely shameful behavior."
The 39-year-old star has been retweeting her followers' message of support, writing on Sunday of the positive feedback: "Brought tears to my eyes. Truly. A very sad day when you can be bullied at my age with a disease."
Esposito joined Blue Bloods as Detective Jackie Curatola in 2010 following stints on such TV series as Samantha Who? and Rescue Me.
CBS did not immediately respond to requests for comment on reports that Blue Bloods will recruit guest stars to be temporary partners for Danny Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg).
The Nov. 2 episode will mark the Esposito's last appearance -- for now.
- Jennifer Esposito
- Blue Bloods
- Celiac disease
- The Hollywood Reporter