'Glee' Creator Ryan Murphy Insists Stars "Knew They Weren't Fired"

Murphy says Lea Michele, Chris Colfer and Cory Monteith just couldn't talk about a potential spinoff -- which has now been tabled

Don't believe everything you read -- or hear. That's what Glee creator Ryan Murphy is saying after the rumor mill began spinning when he announced earlier this month that fan favorites Lea Michele, Cory Monteith and Golden Globe winner Chris Colfer would be leaving the hit Fox series.

Now, Murphy is putting the rumors to rest that the actors had been fired from Glee, which returns for its third season on Sept. 21. "Some people were writing they're not on the show so that means they must be fired," he told Deadline.com. "Well, no. That was 100% incorrect."

Murphy now reveals that the reason the actors would not be coming back at the end of season 4 was that he had been investigating the possibility of a spinoff that has now been tabled. Legally, he could not talk about the spinoff to the press until it was official, and neither could the actors, which left a vacuum of information.

But news that the actors had been fired spread when

Emmy nominee

Colfer had said on July 14 that he

found out the news that he'd be leaving the show via Twitter

. "I didn't necessarily know that it was going to be our last season next year, (but) I knew something like that was coming up eventually," he told

Access Hollywood

. "I mean, we can't be there forever."

Murphy insists the show's stars had been looped in for months about what was going on. "For any of those actors to say, ‘I found out that I was fired off the show from Twitter,’ is absolutely 100% not true," he told Deadline.com. "And all of them knew they weren’t fired, but it was an awful thing to read. And I felt for them. And they couldn’t come out and say, 'No, we weren’t fired. We’re talking about a spin-off.' Because we told them not to."

With no Glee spinoff in the works at the moment, Murphy says he'll be much more cautious in what he chooses to say to the press in the future. "I've learned a lesson from this experience," he explains. "I've learned to really, really monitor what I say. Before I didn't do that. My bad. Stupid."

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