It’s interesting that what he states in the book pretty much confirms that the media speculation was largely right, though I don’t think just one thing was to blame.
I think it was a culmination of different factors which brought along Fern’s departure.
To her declining the ITV handcuff deal which meant that bosses in the end favoured Phillip for all future projects, when she just wanted the freedom to have the option to do other work without being undermined by ITV.
Then the Gastric Band saga which occurred at the same time which would have brought down her self esteem.
Then to Philip who she may have seen as taking over the show with the privilege of having the handcuffs deal. Philip does state a particular incident in the book with Fern snapping and disapproving of him questioning the producers over timings.
To blame it all on money is nonsensical just as much as blaming it all on Phillip. I think she just had enough in the end and eliminated the people that pretty much forced her hand to go in this direction, including Philip. She more than likely felt hurt from this treatment and felt betrayed, given how she went out and ended her maternity leave early when the show was in crisis in 2001/2002.
It probably caused her outburst on the 30th birthday when she voiced her frustration at not being invited to the BAFTA party.
But in reality no one really knows. It’s a shame - especially when Phillip has tried to reach out to talk but Fern has so far been unwilling. He does note in the book that Fern did send him a copy of her autobiography with a handwritten message, which shows there’s still fond memories there - but time has moved on. It would be equally interesting to know what Phillip wrote in the book that he would have given to Fern.
January 9th 1989 - December 3rd 2006