'Blue Bloods' Alum Jennifer Esposito Opens up About Co-Star Donnie Wahlberg Following Controversial Exit

Jennifer Esposito has not been on Blue Bloods in seven years and was only on the show for three of its 10 seasons, but she still looks back fondly on working with Donnie Wahlberg. She clearly respects the actor, even though her exit from the series was marred by controversy. The Crash actress was replaced by detectives played by Megan Ketch, Megan Boone and Marissa Ramirez.

Esposito described Wahlberg as "one of the best people I've worked with" in a new interview with PeopleTV.

"We had so much fun," she continued "I think they needed to make us separate because that's how much fun we had. We would be cracking up and dancing like right before a take and then we'd be like, 'So did he do it!'"

When asked if Wahlberg showed off any of his New Kids on the Block moves, Esposito joked that Wahlberg was "dancing all the time."

"You know what, you're on set so long... especially doing a drama like this... I mean, you're there long, long hours," Espisto explained. "He was wonderful."

Esposito played Detective Jackie Curatola, the third partner for Wahlberg's Danny Reagan, on the first three seasons of Blue Bloods. Her character's final appearance was in the Season 3 episode "Nightmares," in which Jackie decided to take an extended leave of absence form police work. Although technically still alive, the character has never been brought back. She was first replaced by Ketch's Kate Lansing for five episodes and Boone's Candice McElroy for two before Ramirez's Maria Baez was introduced.

In real life, Esposito was put on medical leave after she collapsed on set due to symptoms of Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder. She then took a leave of absence from the show and criticized CBS for putting her on "unpaid leave." and keeping her from working on other shows.

"CBS didn't listen to my doc and I collapsed on set," Esposito wrote in a series of tweets. "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!… Absolutely shameful behavior."

CBS later said Esposito told the network she was only "available to work on a very limited part-time schedule" and was "unable to perform the demands of her role," so they put her character on a leave of absence. The network said it was open to bringing her back.

"Look, they have a job that they need done," Esposito said in a 2012 Fox News interview. "I get it. You don't think I can do it in the two or three days that I am offering in that…work space of eight days? Then I get it, you have to replace me. But that's not what happened. What happened was ugliness."

Since leaving Blue Bloods, Esposito has worked with CBS again, despite what happened seven years ago. She had a main role in NCIS Season 14 as Special Agent Alex Quinn.

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Esposito also had a recurring part in Amazon's The Boys and appeared in an episode of Law & Order: SVU earlier this year. On the film side, she starred in Mary with Gary Oldman this year.

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