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Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas join mass Once Upon a Time exodus

Four major stars from the hit show are leaving after the current sixth season.

Actress Jennifer Morrison's decision to quit U.S. TV drama Once Upon a Time appears to have sparked a mass exodus.

Real-life couple Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas, Emilie de Ravin, and Jared Gilmore have also announced plans to leave the fairytale series at the end of the show's current sixth season.

Only Lana Parilla, Robert Carlyle, and Colin O’Donoghue will return for a seventh run.

Announcing the latest departures in a statement on Friday (12May17), the show's co-creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz write: "Never have we had the privilege of working with a more talented group of collaborators. Each brought unique talent, incredible intelligence, and their own individual bit of magic as they gave life to these iconic characters.

"Ginny reinvented Snow White for a modern audience - there was no way she would be stuck cleaning up after dwarfs, she created an iconic empowered heroine for the 21st century. Josh mined the depths of Prince Charming - a character who in myth was just a 'type' but in his superlative interpretation became a complex man fighting for love and family.

"Emilie took the character of Belle to a deep and soulful place, bringing great intelligence and warmth to the character, making her fiercely independent, strong willed but also an eternal optimist who saw only the best in all those she encountered...

"We can’t thank them enough for the hard work, dedication, and passion they delivered day in and day out. Without them there would be no ONCE UPON A TIME... This group will always be the beating heart of the show. And even though we won’t be with them every week, in a show about magic and hope, we fervently believe it won’t be the last we see of them."

Morrison announced she would be departing the series on Instagram on Monday morning (08May17), informing fans she needed a break after working non-stop on network TV shows for 13 years.

"It’s a gruelling schedule," she sighed. “I’ve had some opportunities that I’ve passed up along the years in order to fulfil these network schedules, and I really had to weigh where I was in my life. I’m just at an age and a time in my life where I want to be home, I want to be with my family and my friends, to have a chance to have a personal life for a while, and also wanted to be available to do other creative things."

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