Starting the new year on a serious note. Joe Gatto announced his exit from Impractical Jokers on Friday, December 31.
The New Year’s Eve note started with Gatto, 45, apologizing for his “long and more-serious-than-usual” letter to fans, shared via Instagram.
“I just wanted to let you all know that I will no longer be involved with Impractical Jokers,” the Tenderloins cofounder wrote.
The New York native said his resignation was due to personal problems, including his split from wife Bessy Gatto, who he married in 2013. Bessy and Joe share two children, daughter Milana, 6, and son Remo, 4.
“Alongside my friends, I’ve devoted a decade of my life to building this franchise and couldn’t be prouder of what has been accomplished,” he wrote. “However, due to some issues in my personal life, I have to step away. Bessy and I have decided to amicably part ways, so now I need to focus on being the best father and co-parent to our two incredible kids.”
In her own statement, Bessy addressed the decision to divorce her husband after eight years of marriage.
“With love and respect, we have decided to separate. Although we will no longer be a couple, we will always be a family to our beautiful kids and we look forward to co-parenting together,” she shared via Instagram on Friday. “We ask that you please respect our privacy as we navigate this new chapter together. And of course we will still continue to help animals and rescue dogs, which is something we are both passionate about! ❤️”
After creating the Tenderloins comedy troupe in 1998 with friends James “Murr” Murray, Brian “Q” Quinn and Sal Vulcano, all of whom Joe met in high school, the group found success with sketch comedy and improv shows. They reached a bigger audience than ever when TruTV picked up the hidden-camera reality show in 2011, and they are set to return to filming the back half of season 9 later this year, TVLine reports. The network already renewed the series for season 10.
“Outside of my family, my relationships with Murr, Q and Sal have been the most important in my life,” Joe added in his letter. “I know they will continue to make the world laugh. And even though the four of us are the ones who you all see, this show is only possible due to the hard work of the talented crew members who work behind the scenes. I am very thankful to have worked with each and every one of them.”
His costars released a statement just after the Staten Island native announced that he was quitting Impractical Jokers.
“After all these years together, we never imagined making Impractical Jokers without Joe,” Murray, Quinn and Vulcano wrote in a statement via Instagram on Friday. “While we are saddened to see him go, we want to keep making people laugh, keep our relationship working with the members of our team that we consider family. With the support of our fans, we’ll get back to making a new chapter of Impractical Jokers in January.”
Joe concluded his goodbye announcement with a message for his loyal viewers: “To all of the amazing fans, thank you for allowing me to make you laugh with Jokers. They say that laughter is the best medicine, and I hope I’ve been able to provide some of that over the last decade. Seeing you laugh has been my own medicine, particularly in these weird and difficult times we find ourselves.”
He added that he still hopes to work in the entertainment industry: “As I work through the challenges I am facing, I hope to and am excited to create new ways to entertain you.”
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