Tuesday, December 19 was Catt Sadler's last time gracing television screens on E!. The news anchor announced that she was stepping down from her longtime role after learning that a "similarly situated male co-host" earns almost double her salary.
Sadler, 43, has been with E! for over 12 years. She was first hired by the company in 2006 to host "The Daily 10" and was later named co-anchor of "E! News" with Jason Kennedy.
Sadler wrote on her website that it was around the same time she was asked to additionally host the two-hour live daytime show "Daily Pop," that a company executive informed her about this "massive disparity in pay." After the network reached out to renew and extend her contract, she discovered that her co-host was making "close to double my salary for the past several years."
The single mother of two does not specifically name Kennedy in her online statement, but confirmed to PEOPLE that he is in fact the colleague she is referring to.
"The gender pay gap is shrinking, although admittedly we have a long way to go," Sadler wrote. "And well, I learned this first hand. My team and I asked for what I know I deserve and were denied repeatedly." She then challenged, "[H]ow can I operate with integrity and stay on at E if they’re not willing to pay me the same as him? Or at least come close?"
"E! compensates employees fairly and appropriately based on their roles, regardless of gender," a spokesperson told PEOPLE. "We appreciate Catt Sadler’s many contributions at E! News and wish her all the best following her decision to leave the network."
E! could not be reached for immediate further comment.
Co-hosts say their goodbyes
Sadler describes Kennedy has her "TV husband," and there seem to be no hard feelings between the two who have a long history working together.
After Sadler announced her departure from the network on Tuesday, Kennedy replied to her tweet, stating, "I hate goodbyes but I’ll save it for the show tonight, love you so much pal, really going to miss you."
Kennedy also shared footage of himself and Sadler before their last show together, looking sad to part ways. Sam Smith's tear-jerker, "Too Good at Goodbyes," fittingly played in the background.
For Kennedy's 36th birthday last week, Sadler posted a photo to Instagram praising him as "one of my best friends in the world," and stating, "I’m so grateful our paths led us to E more than a decade ago. What a gift to be your tv partner in crime but also gain a friend for life."
I couldn’t let today get away without wishing one of my best friends in the world a Happy Happy Birthday. @thejasonkennedy, you are a true class act and one of the finest humans I know. I’m so grateful our paths led us to E more than a decade ago. What a gift to be your tv partner in crime but also gain a friend for life. You’re the best, JK! 🎈
Sadler on what's next
Sadler has become one of the main faces of E!, following in the footsteps of former anchors Giuliana Rancic and Maria Menounos, who left in August 2015 and July 2017 respectively. She reflected on her time at the network as a "dream," but said that her decision was made for her, and that she "must go."
"It was my desire to stay at my job," Sadler wrote on her website. "To continue entertaining our loyal viewers around the world. To keep working alongside some of the best writers, directors, and producers in the game. Everyone from the studio crew, hair and makeup artists, to the security at the front door are true friends of mine. They have been my work family and I love them dearly."
She continued: "I will find more work. I will create content with meaning. I will continue to pursue my passions while making my children proud. The way I see it, I have an obligation to be an agent for change."
You can read Sadler’s full statement here.