Maria Menounos Leaving Extra to "Explore Other Options": "There Is No Bad Energy"
Extra, extra, read all about it! Maria Menounos is leaving her job as Mario Lopez's co-host on Extra just a little over two years after she joined the syndicated entertainment news show, multiple sources confirm to Us Weekly. Contrary to reports, however, she's moving on of her own free will, one insider says.
"Maria was 100 percent not fired," the source tells Us of the television personality, 35, who signed on to Extra in 2011. "The truth is, she decided months ago on her own to explore other options, as she knew her contract was coming up for renewal. She made this decision."
Among those other options is her new Oxygen reality show, Chasing Maria Menounos. The series -- which premiered on Tuesday, March 18 -- follows the sometime actress as she navigates life under one roof with her boyfriend, Keven Undergaro, and her Greek parents, Costas and Litsa.
Rumors about Menounos' Extra departure first surfaced after Page Six reported on Monday, March 24, that the Mindy Project guest star clashed with co-host Lopez. An insider tells Us, however, that everyone at Extra's production company Telepictures was "supportive" as she mulled her next move.
"There is no bad energy," the source says. "Maria has so much going on with her reality show, and she's happy that she has so many options to explore right now."
A rep for Extra would not comment "on talent contracts or negotiations." Menounos' rep also had no comment.