With Girlfriends firmly in her past, Jill Marie Jones chats with Essence.com about her current projects and much talked about departure from the hit show that made her a household name, or well at least her character Toni Childs was…
Essence.com: Nothing wrong with spreading your wings, which brings me to your departure from Girlfriends. Tracee Ellis Ross said in an interview that the reason you didn’t return was because the cast did not receive the huge raise they were expecting. Is that true?
J.M.J.: First of all, let me tell you why I left. I left because I wanted to do movies. My contract was up after my sixth season and people forget that just like the network can choose whether or not to renew your contract, I can also choose and evaluate whether or not I want to come back. My actor’s chair that has Girlfriends and my name on it, you know the director’s chair? Well, on the very last day of my sixth season, I told them to grab my chair and put it in my car for me. So why would I take my chair if I thought I was coming back? Believe you me, I would tell you. I’ve never made a decision based on money. I was on the show for six years and I think that’s a good run. There’s so much more I want to do in my career and so much more I want to know and learn, but my departure definitely had nothing to do with money.
Essence.com: Well, the second part of Tracee’s quote expressed her sadness that after six years of working together you didn’t share your decision to leave with the cast. Is that true?
J.M.J: I’ll be completely honest: I just didn’t really. I wish I had a better answer or could tell you that I even thought about it. Maybe it was a lapse of judgment, maybe I should have called—I didn’t really think about it. When my call came in to say, ‘We’re going to pick up Girlfriends for another season, does Jill want to come back?’ My management and I were like, ‘Thank you, but no thank you.’ So maybe I should have made phone calls, but I didn’t really think about it. When the cast first came back for their seventh season, I sent them all—individually, every single person of Girlfriends—a big bouquet of flowers. I didn’t leave Girlfriends because I was upset or wanted more money. It really wasn’t that deep. It’s so disappointing that because I wanted to dream bigger or experience something new, it received all this hoopla and drama around it. I really just wanted to do movies. It really was just that simple.
Labels: Jill Marie Jones