Fifty Shades director Sam Taylor-Johnson has announced that she has bowed out of the planned two sequels to this year's biggest Hollywood release.
In a statement to Us Weekly, the artist-turned-filmmaker said that while she would not be taking the helm for the follow ups, she felt "hugely grateful" to have been chosen to adapt EL James's bondage novels.
"I have forged close and lasting relationships with the cast, producers and crew and most especially, with Dakota [Johnson] and Jamie [Dornan]," she said. "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."
She added: "Directing Fifty Shades Of Grey has been an intense and incredible journey. I have Universal [Studios] to thank for that."
The Fifty Shades Of Grey movie, released in February, stars Dakota Johnson as submissive Anastasia Steele and Jamie Dornan as her bondage-obsessed playboy billionaire, Christian Grey. It has earned a total of $558.6m (£374.92m) worldwide so far.
It is thought that creative differences with author EL James triggered Taylor-Johnson's shock move. The 48-year-old star previously admitted during an interview with Vanity Fair Magazine that her working relationship with EL James was "difficult" and "frustrating".
"We battled all the way through," the filmmaker said. "She'd say the same. There were tough times and revelatory times. There were sparring contests. It was definitely not an easy process."
This is the latest bump in the round for the film, which received lukewarm reviews following its release. Game Of Thrones star Emilia Clarke recently revealed she has no regrets about turning down the lead role in the film and there had been rumours that Dornan's wife didn't wanted him involved in the forthcoming projects because of their explicit sexual nature.
Although Dornan and Johnson are expected to reprise their roles, producers of the BDSM trilogy are expected to assemble a new creative team for the next instalment following reports that screenwriter Kelly Marcel has also resigned from the franchise.
Fifty Shades Darker is scheduled for release in 2017.