Joss Whedon has been branded an ''egomaniac'' by former 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' crew members, who claim he ordered them to end their relationship.

Stunt coordinator Jeff Pruitt left the show after four seasons amid tensions with the showrunner and though his now-wife Sophia Crawford - who was Sarah Michelle Gellar's stunt double - had planned to stay with the programme, she was allegedly told to end their relationship if she wanted to keep her job.

Jeff said: ''We had a great relationship, Joss and I, but he changed as the show took off.

''By season four I'd become fed up and told them I was going to leave to direct Second Unit on another series. The producers told me that Joss reacted as if I was having an affair or something behind his back.''

Sophia said: ''I was called into the office and I was given an ultimatum. And they said to me, 'Come back to the show, but you need to leave Jeff, or don't come back' And so I basically started crying. And I said 'F you. That's horrible, bye.''

Following a series of disagreements, including Jeff speaking out on a public 'Buffy' forum and the producer claiming he'd lied about him, the stunt expert claimed Joss warned him and Sophia that no-one would ''ever'' work with them again after 'Buffy'.

Jeff recalled to Finally, I simply reached down and took his hand. 'I shook it and told him how much I'd loved working on the show with him. I wished him luck and left. He looked stunned.

''Joss told both Sophia and I that ''no one will ever hire you again after this''. He never says to anyone that he'll see to it you never work in this town again. He is very careful. He only insinuates that no one will ever hire you again if you don't please him.''

However,the pair had friends in the industry and kept working.

He added: ''In spite of Joss, Sophia and I both went on to make more money with less heartache than we'd made in all the 'Buffy' years by working on other projects.

''Really, most of the show and our memories of it are great. We had a terrific time, but there were some dark moments near the end too. I can't deny that. And instead of breaking up, Sophia and I became an unbreakable couple and got married.''

Jeff insisted he and Sophia aren't the only former 'Buffy' crew to have ''dramatic tales'' from their time on the show.

He said: ''Each of us has our own dramatic tales. Most are too scared to speak of them. All I can say is that I loved the way the show created villains and heroes one week only to find them reversing roles later.

''Characters who perhaps had a fling in one episode would turn around and try to murder each other later on. This is actually how it was behind the scenes with the cast and crew. ''Our real-life true stories are way more over the top than any screenplay for the show. In fact, some things in the show were partly based on the real-life relationships between some of us.''