Transformers star Megan Fox left the series two movies in. We look at the controversy behind the real reason the actress left the franchise.

The Transformers movie series was a turning point in Megan Fox’s career. It was the biggest role she landed in her burgeoning path to stardom and seemed like it would lead her to a permanent placement on the Hollywood A-List. However, Fox left the franchise after the second film.

Fox played Mikaela Banes, love interest to Shia LaBeouf’s Sam in the Michael Bay-directed film. The two fought side-by-side with the Autobots as the evil Decepticons left their home planet and threatened the well-being of Earth. At the end of the second movie, Mikaela and Sam declared their love for one another. But by Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Sam was dating a new girl named Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), and Fox’s character was absent.

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Megan Fox

Michael Bay has never had a sterling reputation as a Hollywood director; he has been accused of being unnecessarily demanding with his cast and crew on every set. In a 2009 interview with Wonderland Magazine, Fox infamously went on the record and blasted Bay. She told the publication that Bay wanted to perpetuate his demanding reputation and cracked down on set, going so far as to compare him to Hitler. According to Cosmopolitan, Spielberg, who was a producer on the Transformer series, caught wind of the comment and suggest Bay fire her.

In a 2011 GQ interview promoting Dark of the Moon, the director responded to her comments by essentially brushing them off. He said that Fox liked getting a rise out of people, and always did so in the wrong way. Bay defended himself, stating that he simply required his actors to show up on time and occasionally work long days on set.

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After being fired, Fox became something of a pariah in Hollywood for a period of time. In the Cosmopolitan interview, Fox shared her regret for her behavior, saying it was the lowest point of her career. She was young — just 23 — and believed her actions were righteous. But looking back, she says that it was a massive learning experience that set her career on a completely different trajectory than the one she was previously on. Instead of becoming the A-Lister many thought she would be, Fox settled into a more laid-back career. She had a supporting role in Judd Apatow’s This is 40 and a recurring role on hit sitcom New Girl. But if the incident with Bay had never happened, it’s possible Fox would’ve landed more leading roles in films and television shows.

Megan Fox’s experience just scratches the surface of the dark elements of working in Hollywood — one mistake and an actor can be cast out. But the silver lining is that Fox learned from the past and seems at peace with where her career is at. Coincidentally, Fox and Bay went on to work together again, albeit in an indirect manner. Fox starred in the rebooted Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, which was produced by Bay.

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