Fans of CBS' Blue Bloods are in an uproar over the early -- and unexpected -- exit of Detective Jackie Curatola, but none more than the actress who plays her, Jennifer Esposito.
Written off the show in October after collapsing on the Blue Bloods set, where she appeared as Donnie Wahlberg's partner, Esposito was ordered to go on medical leave while she sought treatment for celiac disease. "After a week off, my doc said I could return to work but CBS implied that I was not truly ill and this was a scheme to get a raise!" fumed Esposito via Twitter at the time news broke of her dismissal.
One month later, the actress, 39, tells FOX News Channel's Arthel Neville in an interview airing Nov. 18 she is still banned from taking on other roles -- and has not received the salary she is owed. "Last week I was told I was on suspension, which meant I am still in contract, not being paid. It's completely illegal, but they also knew that I didn't have the money or the means to sue them."
An outspoken advocate for those suffering with the autoimmune disease of the small intestine, Esposito understands fans' frustrations at Blue Bloods' decision to use a rotating cast of characters to replace her. "When Blue Bloods goes on on a Friday night, Twitter starts going crazy. Someone released pictures of [Wahlberg] and a new partner -- [fans] don't like that. People don't like change, especially with Donnie," Esposito told FOX News Channel of her former costar.
"I have been in the business for 20 years. There has been so many [types] of injustice in this business, but it's what you sign up for; it is what it is," says Esposito. "This, though, is something that is not about me. This is about a disease that people don't understand. What happened was ugliness. It makes me sick."