Jennifer Esposito, who played Det. Jackie Curatola on Blue Bloods, will be joining NCIS as Special Agent Alexandra “Alex” Quinn, according to USA Today. Jennifer Esposito has had some tough times in her personal life the past few years, but like Molly Brown, she is unsinkable. Her marriage to actor Bradley Cooper, the voice of Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy, lasted less than a year, ending in a painful divorce. Health problems forced her off the set of the popular CBS police drama Blue Bloods. She has filed for divorce from her current husband, British model Louis Dowler, and is involved in a $43 million lawsuit with Dowler and her business partners in her bakery, Jennifer’s Way. She was falsely accused of fleeing the country to avoid the lawsuit. Despite all that, Jennifer Esposito is resilient and thriving in the face of her problems. She is joining the cast of NCIS, rated the most popular hour-long show of 2015, a coup for any actress.
— NCIS (@NCIS_CBS) July 11, 2016
Some Hollywood observers and analysts are surprised that Jennifer Esposito is joining one of CBS’ most popular shows, given the disagreements she had with CBS when she left the cast of Blue Bloods. Esposito and CBS had very different points of view on how and why she left Blue Bloods, according to The Hollywood Reporter. CBS called it a leave of absence.
“Jennifer has informed us that she is only available to work on a very limited part-time schedule,” the network says in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.“As a result, she’s unable to perform the demands of her role, and we regretfully had to put her character on a leave of absence.”
Jennifer Esposito told a different side of the story in a series of tweets.
“CBS knows PUT me on unpaid leave and has blocked me from working anywhere else after my doc said u needed a reduced schedule due to celiac …CBS didn’t listen to my doc and I collapsed on set. Which everyone saw! After a week off my doc said I could return to work but CBS … Implied that I was NOT truly ill and this was a scheme to get a raise! It’s been almost two months without bringing me back to work + keeping… Me from working anywhere else! So no that article is not telling you the truth. Absolutely shameful behavior….”
— BuddyTV (@BuddyTV) July 11, 2016
Jennifer Esposito suffers from celiac disease, an autoimmune disease caused by extreme gluten sensitivity. Deadline said she is an advocate for celiac disease patients. In addition to educating people about celiac disease, she owns a bakery that specializes in gluten-free products. That led to her current difficulty.
Esposito’s soon-to-be-ex-husband, Louis Dowler, attempted a hostile takeover of her bakery, Jennifer’s Way. That’s one of the reasons she filed for divorce. She also cited cruel and inhuman treatment. Louis Dowler and Esposito’s other business partners, Larry Wenner and David Drake, are suing Esposito for $43 million. A rumor printed in Page Six claimed Jennifer Esposito had fled the country, but she quickly proved the rumor false, then scolded the journalists involved for not fact-checking.
— Sue Baldwin (@WatchWUSA9) July 12, 2016
Esposito will be playing Alex Quinn on NCIS, “an experienced agent who left field work and became an instructor at the Law Enforcement Training Center,” according to Fox News.
Gary Glaesberg, the executive producer of NCIS, is delighted to have Esposito joining the show, according to USA Today.
“We couldn’t be happier to have Jennifer Esposito joining us for season 14. She embodies everything that we hoped for in the character of Quinn and we can’t wait to have her come be a part of our team.”
Jennifer Esposito is not the only cast change for NCIS as it enters its 14th season. Wilmer Valderrama will be replacing Michael Weatherly’s Agent Tony DiNozzo. Duane Henry, who plays MI6 Officer Clayton Reeves, will become a series regular. As with Adam Rodriguez replacing Shemar Moore on Criminal Minds, Valderrama and Henry are part of an attempt by CBS to be more racially diverse and inclusive in their casting. Sarah Clarke, who plays FBI Agent Tess Monroe, is rumored to be promoted from guest star to regular this season.
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What Jennifer Esposito has been through would have broken a lesser woman: two divorces, one from Bradley Cooper, named the “Sexiest Man Alive” by People magazine in 2011, one from Louis Dowler, a handsome British model; being fired from Blue Bloods because of her health; a lawsuit; gossip and rumors printed about her. She not only survives but excels, getting a role as a regular on the most popular hour-long drama on American TV.
If you’re looking forward to seeing Jennifer Esposito as Agent Alexandra Quinn on NCIS, speak up in our comments section below.
[Photo by Scott Roth/AP Images]