NeNe Leakes announces she’s leaving ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’
NeNe Leakes, the most popular and controversial housewife of the Bravo franchise, says she won't return for season 13
Thirteen is her unlucky number. At least that could one of the things that prompted NeNe Leakes, among the original members of The Real Housewives of Atlanta franchise that debuted in 2008 on Bravo, to leave the show. She announced via her YouTube channel today that she would not return for the next season of the hit reality show and made it sound as though financial negotiations stalled.
“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,” Leakes said. “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.”
As reported by People, it has been speculated that Leakes would not return. But in June, her manager, Steven Grossman, told the outlet rumors about her being let go from the reality show were just that – rumors.
“It is absolutely not true that Nene has been fired from RHOA,” Grossman told People then. “Furthermore, it was made abundantly clear prior that she will always be welcome on the series as long as she wants to be.”
Despite his denial, Wendy Williams also said earlier this year that Leakes confided she was quitting the show. Leakes denied that she’d made up her mind but did acknowledge she was considering leaving the show that made her rich and famous.
“I don’t know. I just don’t know,” Leakes told People this summer. “I got back and forth with it every day. I feel like it’s a big conversation I need to have with the network and with production. Because if they value their talent in some sort of way, then we need to talk. We need to come up with some sort of compromise here.”
Leakes has left the show before – after season 7 she went on to pursue other options, including acting and hosting roles. She was a guest star on RHOA in season 8, absent for season 9, and then returned to RHOA full-time from seasons 10 on.
Leakes has always been somewhat of a controversial, combative character but remained among the show’s top draws. But this year, she had contentious relationships with just about everyone else, to the point that she simply exited the virtual season 12 reunion show by shutting off her computer.
Eva Marcille is also leaving after three seasons, telling her co-hosts on The Rickey Smiley Morning Show earlier this summer that “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.”
Leakes, who in recent seasons publicly shared the struggles in her longtime marriage to her husband Gregg, and then the challenges of his cancer diagnosis, says she’s thankful for the fans she’s made while a part of RHOA.
“It wasn’t an easy decision for me,” she continued. “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.”
But who knows in the wild world of reality TV if goodbye is really ever permanent? Bravo issued a statement that seems to leave things open for Leakes to return if she wants to down the line.
“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.”
Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!