Nene Leakes is saying goodbye to The Real Housewives of Atlanta. She announced her departure via her YouTube channel today.
The self-proclaimed “HBIC” Nene Leakes was among the original cast of Real Housewives of Atlanta when it premiered in 2008.
The 52-year-old reality star will not be returning to RHOA’s upcoming 13th season, as they are currently filming remotely.
“Thank you to all of you guys that have been showing me a lot of love and support as of late. I feel you, I hear you. I have been on an extremely, extremely, long, exhausting, tiring, emotional negotiation. There has been a lot of emotion flying on both sides,” she said in the video.
“It has been hard, and I have made the very had and difficult decision to not be a part of Real Housewives of Atlanta season 13.”
The star also stated, “It was hard. I started on The Real Housewives of Atlanta in 2008. We took off like a rocket. I mean, we took off. You could have never told me that I would start on this little show and it still be going strong 13, 14 years later. And it is. 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.”
Leakes thanked fans, Bravo, the cast, and her team for supporting her over the years, even addressing a false report of someone on her team releasing a statement on her behalf. “I had no knowledge of it and I did not approve it,” Leakes said.
She ended her video by promising, “I will see you again. Real soon.”
Rumors of RHOA star Nene Leakes’ departure
Rumors have been flying all summer about whether Nene Leakes would be returning to Real Housewives next season.
Her manager, Steven Grossman, insisted to PEOPLE on June 18 that she was still in talks to return to season 13.
“It is absolutely not true that Nene has been fired from RHOA. Furthermore, it was made abundantly clear prior that she will always welcome on the series as long as she wants to be.”
Leakes fueled this speculation by posting and since deleting a tweet saying “You are NOT gonna get away with this I promise,” as celebrity site LoveBScott.com captured.
One of Leakes’ close friends, TV host Wendy Williams made headlines back in January when she claimed on her talk show that Leakes was quitting RHOA. Leakes denied this but also admitted she was still debating about whether to return or not.
Leakes previously left the longtime Bravo series after Season 7 to focus on her television roles and stand up comedy tour. She was a guest on Season 8 and skipped Season 9 all together before returning full time in Season 10.
In Season 12, Leakes had lots of turmoil with her castmates and in the three-part virtual reunion. She got into vicious fights with Eva Marcille and Kandi Burruss and even closed her laptop and walked away, never returning to resolve any issues.
RHOA cast departures and additions
Nene Leakes isn’t the only housewife to announce her departure from Real Housewives of Atlanta.
Former castmate Eva Marcille, 35, announced on June 16 that she was exiting the series after three seasons.
“I appreciate the bond of friendship that I’ve made with my castmates and strong personal relationships I have with numerous executives and producers of Bravo,” she said in a statement on the Rickey Smiley Morning Show.
“I am thankful for the opportunity I was provided. However, after speaking with my family and representatives, I believe that what I hope to accomplish for the culture and community will be better served by focusing on other opportunities.”
Several newcomers will replace Leakes and Marcille on the show. Actress Drew Sidora, who is known for roles like T-Boz in the TLC biopic, CrazySexyCool, and The Game will be joining the RHOA for Season 13. YouTube influencer LaToya Ali, better known as LaToya Forever, will appear in the new season as well.
Many fans have expressed that they won’t watch unless Nene Leakes is a part of the cast. Do you think the series will continue to be successful without one of its main stars?
Real Housewives Season 13 returns in 2021 on Bravo.