After weeks of speculation, it's officially confirmed – Sam Taylor-Johnson is walking away from Fifty Shades of Grey. The English director, 48, will not be returning to direct the sequels, she announced in a statement released on Wednesday.
"Directing Fifty Shades of Grey has been an intense and incredible journey for which I'm hugely grateful," Sam told E! News. "I have Universal to thank for that. I forged close and lasting relationships with the cast, producers and crew and most especially with Dakota (Johnson) and Jamie (Dornan).
Sam Taylor-Johnson will not return to direct the Fifty Shades sequels
"While I will not be returning to direct the sequels, I wish nothing but success to whosoever takes on the exciting challenge of films two and three."
Sam's announcement comes after her admission that she found it difficult to work with the novel's author E.L James.
"I'm not going to lie," she told Porter magazine. "We definitely fought, but they were creative fights and we would resolve them. We would have proper on-set barneys, and I'm not confrontational, but it was about finding a way between the two of us, satisfying her vision of what she had written as well as my need to visualise this person on the screen, but, you know, we got there."
Sam Taylor-Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson and author E.L James
Last month, a film insider told the Sun: "Sam won’t be back for Fifty Shades sequels. She wants out and Universal knows that's the right decision.
The source claimed that Sam and Erika's relationship had soured, and that they "blame each other for the problems with the film".
The first Fifty Shades of Grey movie has so far grossed more than $550million worldwide since its release on 13 February.
On the same day that she made her announcement, Sam spent time with the film's handsome leading man Jamie. "Today with Jamie #jamiedornan," she captioned an Instagram photo showing the pair standing and smiling side-by-side.