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Courtney Green and Chloe Meadows' axing from The Only Way Is Essex has been several years in the making, a source tells OK!
The best friends, who first joined the ITVBe show in 2015, are reportedly among the 10 cast members given their marching orders in a bid to save the beloved programme from a ratings slump.
And a source has now told OK! that their boot from the show was inevitable as they rarely had their own storylines except for "talking about other people's business".
"It was very unexpected for the cast to hear so many of them would be axed, but for Chloe and Courtney, it's been on the cards for a while," an insider told us.
"The producers have been keeping an eye on their friendship group as they don't bring many of their own storylines and are left constantly talking about other people's business.
"There have been whisperings that Courtney and Chloe are on their way out for years, but everybody is surprised by the quantity of people leaving," it was added.
On Thursday, it was reported that Courtney, 26, and Chloe, 28, as well as castmembers Harry Lee, Kelsey Stratford and Clelia Theodorou would exit the show so producers can concentrate on "a smaller group of cast members."
It's believed Amber Turner, James Lock and Amy Childs, who returned last year, will remain on the show.
Chloe Sims and her sisters Frankie and Demi are also all believed to be returning as cast members.
Pete Wicks, Bobby Norris and Chloe Brockett will reportedly learn their fate today as bosses continue Zoom calls.
A source told MailOnline: "Courtney and Chloe are gutted, they thought they were part of the furniture. But bosses feel the ruthless cull was needed to shake up the show.
"Many of the stars are yet to be told ahead of meetings scheduled with producers today and are preparing themselves for the worst. It will be devastating for so many of them."
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