Nene Leakes Announces She Is Leaving ‘Real Housewives Of Atlanta’

After a summer of rumors, Real Housewives of Atlanta star Nene Leakes announced on Thursday that she was leaving the Bravo reality show…for now.

“I have made the hard and very difficult decision to not be a part of Real Housewives of Atlanta season 13,” said Leakes in a video posted to her YouTube account. “It wasn’t an east decision for me.

“I have been on an extremely, extremely long, exhausting, tiring, emotional negotiation,” she said. “There has been a lot of emotion flying on both sides.”

Leakes continued, “I’m just so happy that I can say that I was a part of a genre that opened doors for Black ensemble reality shows.

She thanked Bravo, her fans, the cast, her team and those at her production company, Truly Original: “It has been just amazing. Thank you guys so much.”

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Executive producer of the Real Housewives franchise and host of Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live, Andy Cohen, posted a tribute to Leakes on his Instagram page.

It read in part, “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…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

A post shared by Andy Cohen (@bravoandy) on

View this post on Instagram

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

A post shared by Andy Cohen (@bravoandy) on

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

A post shared by Andy Cohen (@bravoandy) on

Leakes also addressed a recent report that someone on her team had announced the RHOA star was leaving the show. “I have no knowledge of it,” she said. “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.”

Bravo posted the following statement on her departure:

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.

That last line is intriguing given that Leakes has left the show before. As an original cast member, she was on seasons 1 through 7. She then left and came back full-time in seasons 10 through 12.

Leakes likewise ended her video with a cryptic, “I will see you again!”

Here is most of her announcement:

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. 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. 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.

See her whole announcement video below.

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