NeNe Leakes is leaving The Real Housewives of Atlanta
The reality star announced the news on her YouTube channel Thursday, saying she made a "hard and difficult decision" to not be a part of the upcoming 13th season.
Leakes hinted that her exit was due to negotiations behind the scenes, describing the process as "an extremely long, exhausting, tiring, emotional negotiation." EW has reached out to Bravo for further comment.
“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. She’s been instrumental since the start and will truly be missed, and maybe one day she’ll hold the peach again," the network said in a statement obtained by Variety.
Leakes has been a fan favorite since RHOA's first season, and remained with the show through season 7. After a brief exit, she returned for season 10 and has been on through season 12. Still, Leakes' news won't surprise fans as rumors of her leaving have been recently swirling and the show has already been filming for months without her.
"I started on The Real Housewives of Atlanta in 2008. We took off like a rocket. I mean, we took off," she said in her video. "You could have never told me that I [would have] starred 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."
RHOA executive producer Andy Cohen shared a sweet farewell message to Leakes on his Instagram and posted photos of the two together over the years. He also tagged some of the star's most memorable and meme-worthy quotes, from "Bloop" to "Close your legs to married men!"
"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," he wrote. "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.