Affair Star on Ruth Wilson's Exit Ahead of Final Season: 'People Have Different Tolerances for Different Things'

The Affair: Ruth Wilson, Maura Tierney

More than one year after Ruth Wilson left The Affair under mysterious circumstances, Maura Tierney is speaking out in defense of her co-star’s choice.

In a new interview with Vanity Fair, the ER vet suggests that she was not surprised by Wilson’s decision to vacate her starring role ahead of the fifth and final season (premiering tonight at 9/8c). “People have different tolerances for different things,” she says. “The work was certainly very demanding for her… [Alison] was just suffering all the time.

“This show is very specific. And it’s very demanding,” Tierney continues. “And sometimes people have a shelf life for it.”

Last August, during an appearance on CBS This Morning, Wilson claimed that she was “not allowed to talk about why” she left the Showtime drama. The moment was initially met with silence from Gayle King, who then alluded to an interview Wilson did earlier that year, during which she revealed that she was paid less than her male co-star, Dominic West. In response to King’s question, Wilson asserted that she “never complained to Showtime about pay parity.”

Weeks after that awkward sit-down, Wilson told another outlet that she had “no say” over how her character was written out — and the storyline that did play out was not on her wish list. (Viewers were initially led to believe that Alison died by suicide, but the following installment revealed that she was killed. Ex-husbands Noah and Cole have not yet discovered the truth.)

Tierney refuses to speculate as to what else might have gone down. She does, however, rule out the possibility that there was any bad blood among castmates.

“Everybody I met — but especially [Joshua Jackson, West and Wilson] — they’re just, like, wonderful people. And extremely talented actors,” she says. “And we really supported each other, and we were a tight group. And that was so valuable. It doesn’t happen all the time… that everybody really, truly gets along and has respect for each other and there’s no ego, and no one’s being infantile.”

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