Lauren Pope quits The Only Way Is Essex after nine years

Lauren Pope has announced she is leaving The Only Way Is Essex as a permanent cast member.

After nine years on the ITVBe show, Lauren won’t appear in the current series.

She’s set to take a break for the foreseeable future – but may well return for guest appearances.

“After an amazing nine years on The Only Way Is Essex I have decided that now is the natural time for me to leave,” Lauren told The Sun newspaper in a statement. “I am incredibly thankful for the opportunities that the show has brought my way and have loved being part of the cast.

“On top of that, Lime [Pictures, who make the show] have become an extended family to me and I’ll be forever grateful for their guidance and support over the years.

“Nonetheless, I feel now is the time for me to move on so I can focus my attention wholeheartedly on my business ventures and personal relationship.”

An insider teased that while Lauren would no longer be on the show full time, she may not be gone completely.

“It doesn’t mean she won’t pop back occasionally – with Chloe dating her ex Dan now, I’m sure she’d have some advice for Chloe!” a source said.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Towie said: “We wish Lauren all the best as she focuses on her new relationship and growing business ventures.

“She’s been such a big part of TOWIE’s success and will always be part of our TOWIE family. We hope to see her back in Essex soon!”

The current series of The Only Way Is Essex airs on ITVBe on Sunday nights at 9PM.