She's one of the originals!

It’s a sad day for The Only Way Is Essex fans as Lauren Pope has announced she’s leaving the reality show to spend more time with her new boyfriend, Tony Keterman.

Fans will have noticed that Lauren, 36, hasn’t appeared in the latest series so far, having made the decision not to travel to Thailand with the rest of the cast.

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And it seems that her decision to take a break from the show has become more permanent now that she has announced she won’t be appearing on screen for the rest of the series.

Speaking of her decision to quit, Lauren told The Sun Online that she feels the timing is right: ‘After an amazing nine years on The Only Way Is Essex I have decided that now is the natural time for me to leave.

Lauren Pope Instagram

‘I am incredibly thankful for the opportunities that the show has brought my way and have loved being part of the cast.

‘Nonetheless, I feel now is the time for me to move on so I can focus my attention wholeheartedly on my business ventures and personal relationship,’ she added.

But just when it seems that we’re losing our favourite TOWIE star for good, it’s been hinted that Lauren will always be welcomed back to the show for cameo appearances.

With the door thankfully being left open for Lauren, it looks like she could pop back at any time… maybe to give co-star Chloe Sims some relationship advice now that she is dating Lauren’s ex, Dan Edgar.

Talking about Lauren’s decision to leave the show, a TOWIE spokesperson told The Sun: ‘We wish Lauren all the best as she focuses on her new relationship and growing business ventures.

‘She’s been such a huge part of TOWIE’s success and will always be part of our TOWIE family. We hope to see her back in Essex soon!’

Lauren was one of the original TOWIE case members, joining the show back in 2010 along with the likes of Mark Wright, and with everyone leaving the show going on to be huge successes, we can’t wait to see what lovely Lauren does next…