Why Is NeNe Leakes Leaving 'Real Housewives of Atlanta'?
NeNe Leakes, who has been a full-time cast member with the reality show since it premiered (2008) — with the exception of Seasons 8 and 9 — confirmed on her YouTube channel Thursday that she is exiting ahead of Season 13. In doing so, she made sure to thank those "who have been showing me a lot of love and support" more than once.
"I have been on an extremely, extremely long, exhausting, tiring, emotional negotiation. There has been a lot of emotion flying from both sides," Leakes says in the video below. "It has been hard and I have made the very hard and difficult decision to not be a part of Real Housewives of Atlanta Season 13. It wasn't an easy decision for me. It was hard."
Recalling the beginning of her time on the Bravo series, "we took off like a rocket," she continues. "I'm just so happy that I can say that I was a part of a genre that opened up doors for Black ensemble reality shows to step up and be a part of what we all now love so much, reality TV."
After thanking Bravo, her production company and team, the cast, and her fans and followers, she addressed a recent statement supposedly released by someone on her team on her behalf. "I have no knowledge of it. I did not approve it. When something is this important and this near and dear to my heart, I always want to be the person to address you," she stresses. "I can't confirm or deny anything that they have in that report, but I can say that it was not brought to my attention."
"We wish Nene all the best in her future endeavors and thank her for sharing her journey for over a decade with the fans of The Real Housewives of Atlanta," Bravo said in a statement. "She's been instrumental since the start and will truly be missed, and maybe one day she'll hold the peach again."
Real Housewives of Atlanta executive producer and Bravo bigwig Andy Cohen called Leakes "an icon of the genre" in the caption alongside a series of photos of Leakes, including one as a guest on his talk show, Watch What Happens Live.
"She is a gif and catchphrase machine. In 11 years of #WWHL, Nene has been our most frequent guest, and she is always A BLAST," he wrote. "Through her whole run, she has always had a serious concern and drive to maintain the success and well-being of #RHOA. I am going to miss Nene on the show, but I’m hoping we work together again soon and will remain in each other’s orbits forever."
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Nene Leakes is an icon of the genre. She is a gif and catchphrase machine. In 11 years of #WWHL, Nene has been our most frequent guest, and she is always A BLAST. Nene nicknamed me “Buttercup” the first day we met, and still calls me that today. Through her whole run, she has always had a serious concern and drive to maintain the success and well-being of #RHOA. I am going to miss Nene on the show, but I’m hoping we work together again soon and will remain in each other’s orbits forever. XO, Buttercup. #Bloop #LowDownMonkeyWithAWig #CloseYourLegsToMarriedMen #WeSeeEachOthah #ISaidWhatISaid #TrumpCheck #ByeWig #SoNastyAndSoRude #Buttercup
Leakes' announcement comes a week after Denise Richards' departure from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Other recent Real Housewives exits include Eva Marcille from Atlanta and Dorinda Medley from New York City.