The cast of the Girlfriends recently reunited during an episode of ABC’s Black-ish, which sent fans of the now-defunct show into a frenzy. Following their on-screen reunion, the quartet sat down for an in-depth interview, where the cast of the show, Tracee Ellis Ross, Jill Marie Jones, Golden Brooks, and Persia White discussed getting back together, their reaction to the show’s ending, why Jones chose to leave the show when she did, and the impact of Girlfriends.
The interview was the very first time that the four women discussed how they felt about Jones leaving the show before it ended after she shared why she left the show in the first place. “It was so different,” Jones said after being asked, “How did the dynamic of the show change after Jill left?” “It’s kind of like having four children and one of them leaves off for college and then you’re in the house,” Brooks said.
“It was weird for a lot of reasons,” Ross continued. “It was weird to have one of our arms gone.” Charlamagne then brought up that there was speculation at the time that there was beef between the actors.
“No,” Jones replied before actually explaining why she left the show. “I’ve said it before but let me say it again. What a lot of people don’t know is Girlfriends was my third audition in town, so the first audition I booked. [The] second one, I didn’t. [The] third one, I booked, Girlfriends. So I’m on this show for six years. I know no casting people. I know no producers. Studios don’t know me. Networks don’t know me. So I have a six-year contract. So, I booked Girlfriends at 25. Not only am I a woman, but I’m a black woman. I’ m like 31,32 now and I’m thinking I gotta get stuff going because I don’t know what’s next.”
“Fear played a part…but you know what I will say. Studios and networks, they can fire you at any time if they choose but we have a contract and there was something that I really loved about having the convo with myself. Hmmm. Do I want to go and sign a new contract or do I want to go in my personal career because I have that choice? My six-year contract was up and at the time, it felt right for me,” Jones continued.
Jones then admitted that she failed to tell the cast about her departure. “I didn’t,” she said before explaining that she was afraid of an agent possibly spreading the word about her exit. By the way, I’m green. I’m new. I didn’t know that you have to make an announcement,” Jones said. “But if I could go back I would do things differently for sure. I sent them flowers on their first day back.”
Charlamagne then asked the cast if any of them felt that Jones was selfish for her decision.”One thing you cannot do is tell someone or project how you would do something onto someone else. She made a choice that was right for her and we have to respect that,” Brooks replied before Ross explained how hard they worked in the “trenches.”
“We’ve never had a chance to have that conversation and truthfully it’s not a necessary conversation,” Ross said. Jones then became emotional and started crying when the conversation turned to how abruptly the show ended. “That is one of the things that really bothered me when I would hear people say, ‘what are you guys going to do without Toni?’ These women are still doing a show.
“But it was hard without you, Jill,” Ross said before the group paused to pass Jones tissue. “What I was saying is that when other ppl would say that you have these talented actors who are still working on a beautiful show and it became a topic that I wish it hadn’t been,” Jones clarified.
“The four of us were the girlfriends. It’s like with Destiny child [and] The Supremes. It’s the place where you started and people get invested and they fall in love. They didn’t know and I think we didn’t know. We had done six years of extraordinary television,” Ross said.
The Cast Of Girlfriends