NeNe Leakes Departs ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’

Leakes, an original cast member, made the announcement Thursday on YouTube

Last Updated: September 17, 2020 @ 3:33 PM

NeNe Leakes announced Thursday that she will not be returning to “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.” Leakes, one of the original cast members of the popular Bravo reality TV show, made the announcement via her YouTube channel.

In a vlog entitled, “Listen Closely, I got something to tell you!” Leakes first thanked her fans and supporters.

“I have been on an extremely, extremely long, exhausting, tiring, emotional negotiation,” she said, holding back tears. “There has been a lot of emotion flying from both sides. It has been hard. And I have made the very hard and difficult decision to not be a part of the ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ Season 13. It wasn’t an easy decision for me. It was hard.”

Nene Leakes started on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” in 2008. She left after Season 7 to pursue her acting career, appeared as a guest in Season 8, and returned to full-time housewife status from Seasons 10-12.

In an Instagram post, “Real Housewives” executive producer Andy Cohen said he would miss Leakes and called her an “icon of the genre.” He added that he hopes to work together with her soon.

Season 13 of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” which reportedly started production before Leakes’ announcement, will look very different following the departures of Nene Leakes and Eva Marcille, who also announced she would not be returning. Those coming back include Kandi Burruss, Cynthia Bailey, Kenya Moore and Porsha Williams.

There has been a “Real Housewives” exodus of late, with Denise Richards leaving the “Beverly Hills” edition and Dorinda Medley departing “New York.”

The franchise is keeping fresh by adding a new show — “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” — in November.

TheWrap has reached out to Bravo for comment on Leakes’ departure. Watch her YouTube announcement above.