One of the most powerful episodes of The Affair to date showed a dual perspective on the death of a major character: Ruth Wilson’s Alison Bailey. However, while the penultimate episode of the Showtime series’ fourth season garnered much critical acclaim, there’s now some controversy over why Wilson left the marital drama in the first place.
Shortly after episode “409” aired, Wilson was asked by Gayle King in an interview with CBS This Morning if the rumors that Wilson wanted to leave the series were true. The Little Stranger star confirmed that, indeed, she did choose to leave the show — but also added this intriguing tidbit:
"I’m not allowed to talk about why," Wilson told King, hinting at a possible non-disclosure agreement.
Now, Wilson has spoken out again about leaving the show, and it’s what she doesn’t say that is raising eyebrows. In a New York Times interview, the I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House star revealed:
“[Leaving the series wasn’t] about pay parity, and it wasn’t about other jobs,” she told the outlet. “But I’m not really allowed to talk about it.”
She then added that there is a “much bigger story,” and reportedly suggested to The New York Times that the outlet reaches out to Sarah Treem, an executive producer and writer on The Affair. According to The New York Times, Treem echoed a statement issued by Showtime, which claimed that Alison’s arc had simply "run its course" and that her death would set up drama for the fifth and final season. Refinery29 has reached out to both Wilson and Treem for comment.
The issue of pay parity was something that Wilson spoke out about back in February of 2018. Wilson told Radio Times, per Variety, that she was paid less than her co-star, Dominic West, even after she received a major award for her role.
“Certainly when I signed up to that project, I would have got paid less,” the actress told Radio Times. “Then they [the producers] might argue, ‘Well, he’s already done a major American TV show [‘The Wire’] so he’s already got a level.’ But even after a Golden Globe [in 2015] I’m not going to be on parity."
West, for his part, agreed that Wilson should be paid at least equally, and said as much in an interview with Channel 4.
"She should [actually] get more because she won a Golden Globe for the part," West stated in the interview.
However, it does not seem that this issue has much to do with Alison's shocking death, and Wilson's even more surprising departure... though, since Wilson can't "talk about it," we may never know if that's really the case.
And with that, Wilson's exit from The Affair just became biggest mystery the show has ever built.
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