Ruth Wilson shocked fans with her sudden exit from The Affair back in 2018. Wilson played one of the core leads, Alison Bailey, from the first season up until the fourth. She departed the show before The Affair’s fifth and final season on Showtime. At the time, Wilson said she could not talk about why she left the show.
Ruth Wilson then acknowledged that she wanted to exit The Affair while adding that she could not go into why. The question has subsequently hung over Wilson’s decision as fans have been left to wonder what drove Wilson to leave the hit drama. At the time, pay parity had arisen as a possible explanation. That topic had rocked The Walking Dead and The Crown, so it seemed possible for Wilson and The Affair.
Ruth Wilson indicated that a pay dispute was not behind her much-discussed exit. On-screen, The Affair killed Alison off in a scene that initially showed two viewpoints. The mystery surrounding Wilson’s exit did not die with Allison. Reports of a toxic work environment surfaced following her departure. Cut to the end of 2020, and Wilson is shedding more light on her decision, telling Stylist:
The reason I haven’t gone into The Affair is that I haven’t worked out how to discuss it. There’s a lot of noise and anger surrounding it, and really the power rests with me to choose how I discuss my life and my experiences. What’s important to say is that I did speak up. I did have a voice. I did stand up for myself. There was a situation on The Affair where things didn’t feel right, and I dealt with them, and I managed to protect myself.
Ruth Wilson said a lot here without getting into any specifics, although she does give the impression that something happened behind-the-scenes. The confirmation comes after The Affair’s creator pushed back. Late last year, Sarah Treem went on the offensive, defending her choices surrounding nude scenes, relaying how she had worked to please Wilson. The Affair star started to tell her side of the story. Wilson explained:
It was before #MeToo and before Harvey Weinstein — and yet my instincts were very clear and strong about what I felt was wrong, about what was going on, and what I didn’t feel safe about.
Ruth Wilson is now discussing the concerns she had regarding The Affair in a pre-#MeToo world, shining the light in a certain direction regarding her exit from the Showtime series in a way that she hadn't before. Wilson’s comments come after her former co-star Maura Tierney shared her thoughts on why Wilson wanted to leave.
At the time, Maura Tierney, who played Helen Solloway on the drama, opted not to speculate while acknowledging the hardship of playing someone as long-suffering as Alison. Whether or not Ruth Wilson ever shares more on her departure, only time will tell. Over two years have passed since her last episode aired on The Affair, and there is a little less mystery as to what drove Wilson to depart.
Interestingly, Ruth Wilson’s co-star Joshua Jackson opted out of Season 5 after Wilson had announced her exit from the soapy series. Cut to 2020, and The Affair is over on Showtime. If you are in need of another drama, you can check out this fall’s premieres. One of them is His Dark Materials, which stars Ruth Wilson. Season 2 premieres Monday, November 16 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.