Joey Essex 'Leaving TOWIE After I'm A Celebrity'
Scripted reality show cast member reported to be quitting for new projects...
The Only Way Is Essex that he is leaving the hit ITV 2 show.
The 23-year-old is widely expected to be appearing in the new series of I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! - and is claimed by The Sun to have told pals he won't be coming back.
A source told the paper: "Joey dropped the bombshell the other day.
"He loves being on the show and it has made him a star. But lots of people have been offering him other stuff.
"He's seen what the jungle did for Mark Wright and he wants a slice of the action. Towie is a good craic but the money isn't good and you're basically just a pawn in the producers' game.
"Now he's taken control of his future."
Joey joined the cast of Towie in 2011 and was quickly promoted from being a minor character to one of the main cast members when he proved a hit with viewers.
His rep told The Sun: "We have a couple of other projects planned for Joey and he will not be available for the Christmas Special this year.
"Joey loves Towie and the opportunities the show has given him.
"The producers have said that the door is always open to him, which he is very grateful for, and he hopes to return at some stage in the near future."
Meanwhile celebrities including Rebecca Adlington, Matthew Wright, Steve Davis and Kian Egan have been arriving down under in advance of the new series of I'm A Celeb.
A lower-key line-up has been predicted for this year, with mentions of Alfonso Ribeiro (who played Carlton in The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air) generating a lot of enthusiasm among fans.