Fans were heartbroken when news broke that Cote de Pablo would be leaving "NCIS" in Season 11, and now the actress has opened up to Latina magazine about her controversial exit.

“It was not an easy decision, not one taken lightly," she told Latina. "I feel like I am leaving my family. What I want to say most of all is thank you to the fans and to the people who have been so supportive of me and of the show, who have made the show the great success that it is."

Although de Pablo will only appear in two episodes of "NCIS" Season 11, executive producer Gary Glasberg promised to make her send-off count. "We’re going to deliver everything the Tiva fans would want,” he told TVLine. “There’s tremendous romance and tremendous heart and pathos, and I hope fans enjoy it. We’re going to do our best.”

CBS was apparently just as reluctant as the fans to let de Pablo go, with CEO Les Moonves recently telling critics, "We offered Cote a lot of money and then we offered her even more money. We really didn't want to lose her. We love her ... We obviously were in discussion with the rest of the cast and the producers [and Cote]. Ultimately, she decided she didn't want to do the show."

After de Pablo announced her exit, "NCIS'" producers released a statement saying that they "respect Cote’s decision, thank her for being an important part of the 'NCIS' team, and for eight terrific years playing Ziva David. Cote and CBS share a great respect for the 'NCIS' audience, and we look forward to working with her and the producers on appropriate closure in this chapter of Ziva’s story."

For more from de Pablo, click over to Latina.

"NCIS" Season 11 premieres Tuesday, September 24 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

Will you miss de Pablo?

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