Cote De Pablo’s announcement in July that she’d be leaving the hit CBS prodecural drama NCIS didn’t just come as a shock to fans of the show – costar Pauley Perrette and other castmember didn’t see it coming either.

"It was huge news to us," Perrette told E! News during the TCA Press Tour. "I found out literally 20 minutes before it was released in the press.”

Perrette continued, “But we love her. She's our friend. She had a personal decision to make. No one wanted her to leave. There was no drama…there really isn't much to tell. There really wasn't any drama. But we love her, we respect her and that's what happened."

De Pablo’s departure from NCIS was entirely of her own volition, according to CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves. "[De Pablo] was offered a lot of money then offered some more money,” Moonves said, but could not be convinced to stay onboard the show, reported Newsday. Mooves’ remark expressed a similar sentiment to CBS’ initial statement following the news that de Pablo would soon be exiting the series.

“We respect Cote’s decision, thank her for being an important part of the NCIS team, and for eight terrific years playing Ziva David," the statement read. "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."

In her own statement, de Pablo had said, “I’ve had 8 great years with NCIS and Ziva David. I look forward to finishing Ziva’s story."

One of the aspects of Ziva’s story fans are most curious about is her relationship with Tony DiNozza (Michael Weatherly), known by shippers as “Tiva.” A scene from last season led the hopeful to believe that their favorite will-they-won’t-they pairing might finally make a go of it. Weatherly assures all fans of the show will be pleased with the closure the two get before Ziva – and de Pablo – exit.

"Even if you hate Tiva, even if you love the Tiva, if you're ambivalent, it's like a big Christmas stocking on Christmas morning!" he said during the TCA Press Tour. "Even if you're a casual viewer of NCIS, this season premiere and the first couple of episodes, you're going to want to check out because man alive, if you have found the show compelling at all, this is right down your alley."

– Chelsea Regan

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For More On Cote de Pablo & 'NCIS':

Cote De Pablo Was Determined To Leave ‘NCIS’

Cote de Pablo Announces Departure From NCIS Next Season

'NCIS' Cliffhanger: Will Ziva David Return?

SPOILERS: 'NCIS' Picks Up After Explosive Season Finale

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