There’s a lot of mystery surrounding Ruth Wilson’s surprise departure from the Showtime drama The Affair. The actress has done very few interviews about her character’s death, which shocked viewers earlier this month, though she fueled speculation by telling CBS This Morning yesterday, “I did want to leave, but I’m not allowed to talk about why.” We caught up with Wilson at the Metrograph premiere of The Little Stranger on Thursday night, where she revealed that she didn’t have any say about how her character left the show — and if she had, things would have turned out differently. “No, I had no say over how the character’s arc was going to end, or how she would die and leave. I always hoped that she would … I always had the image that she would walk into the sunset with her son with no man,” Wilson said, adding, “That’s what I hoped for her. But no.”
This is a very different ending from the one that Wilson’s character, Alison, ends up getting. In the episode, “Secondary Drowning,” her death happens at the hands of her married boyfriend, Ben, though it’s ruled as a suicide. The show’s creator, Sarah Treem, told The Hollywood Reporter that Wilson wanted to leave the show. “That was a request,” Treem said, “so that was decided basically before we started writing. It wasn’t a discovery of any kind. That was very deliberate.”
Although some have questioned whether Wilson’s previous comments about being unequally paid compared to her male co-star, Dominic West, were the reason for her swift exit, Wilson told CBS This Morning that she “never complained to Showtime about pay parity.”
After Wilson’s appearance on CBS This Morning, Showtime released a statement about her Affair departure: “We can’t speak for Ruth, but heading into season four everyone agreed the character’s story had run its course. Ultimately, it felt like the most powerful creative decision would be to end Alison’s arc at the moment when she had finally achieved self-empowerment. The impact of her loss will be felt as the series concludes next season. We thank the many fans who embraced the character of Alison and especially thank Ruth for her indelible work over the past four seasons.”
Additional reporting by Maria Elena Fernandez.