Despite forging 'lasting relationships' with Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, Sam Taylor-Johnson has walked away from Fifty Shades Of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey director Sam Taylor-Johnson has confirmed that she won’t return to direct the next film in the franchise.

The 48-year-old Brit made the sensational announcement on Wednesday in a statement. She hasn’t shed much light on her decision but admits she’ll remain close to Fifty Shades stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson.

‘Directing Fifty Shades of Grey has been an intense and incredible journey for which I am hugely grateful,’ Sam tells Us Weekly.

‘I have Universal to thank for that. I forged close and lasting relationships with the cast, producers and crew and most especially, with Dakota [Johnson] and Jamie [Dornan].

‘While I will not be returning to direct the sequels, I wish nothing but success to whosoever takes on the exciting challenges of films two and three.’

It comes after Sam confessed to having rows on set with the book’s author E L James. The pair were rumoured to have a strained relationship due to creative differences and Sam recently opened up about how she found it tough to work with the writer, whose real name is Erika Leonard.

‘I’m not going to lie,’ Sam told Porter magazine last month. ‘We definitely fought, but they were creative fights and we would resolve them.

‘We would have proper on-set barneys, and I’m not confrontational, but it was about finding a way between the two of us, satisfying her vision of what she’d written as well as my need to visualise this person on screen, but, you know, we got there.’

It’s thought that the women had several disagreements during the process of making the film and the rows seemed to have a lasting effect on their relationship.

When asked by HuffPost Live during the Fifty Shades promotional tour if Erika had contacted her or congratulated her, things didn’t sound too good between them when Sam admitted: ‘No. I think we will get to the end of this – we’ve been moving at such a pace – [that] hopefully when we get to the end of this, that will happen.’

Sam has clearly stayed close to the film’s leading stars Jamie and Dakota though. On the same day that she announced she was quitting the franchise Sam posted a cute photo with Jamie on Instagram and wrote: ‘Today with Jamie. #jamiedornan’

She also shared a snap of herself peeking out from under a duvet with Dakota and Jamie the following day. Both actors are contractually committed to the film’s sequels and it’s thought that the next movie, Fifty Shades Darker, will start filming next spring.

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Anna Francis