Producers of hit TV drama Desperate Housewives have confirmed actress Drea de Matteo will not be returning to the series - but deny reports she was fired due to falling ratings.
The former Sopranos star joined Eva Longoria, Teri Hatcher, Marcia Cross and Felicity Huffman on the programme as the matriarch of an Italian family who moves to Wisteria Lane.
Reports surfaced in November (09) suggesting De Matteo had been fired after just five episodes following poor TV ratings.
But producers insist they've merely granted her request to quit the show to spend more time with her fiance, singer Shooter Jennings, and their two-year-old baby girl, Alabama.
Executive producer Marc Cherry tells Entertainment Weekly, "Part of the deal when (we) hired Drea was she was only interested in doing one season. She has a baby and is eager to get back to her life in New York."
De Matteo's last episode is scheduled to air in May (10).