NeNe Leakes finally confirmed what many followers of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” suspected: she is not returning season 13.
“It wasn’t an easy decision for me. It was hard," she said in a YouTube video she released Thursday.
This is actually her second departure from the hit reality show. She left after season seven, made brief appearance season eight, skipped season nine but came back for season 10.
This past two seasons were especially tumultuous ones for Leakes on the show. This past season, she tried to reconcile with several of the cast members but only succeeded in full with Porsha Williams. Her rivalry with Kenya Moore boiled again to the surface, and she departed the virtual “Housewives” reunion in the spring early in a huff.
On social media, she also complained about other housewives getting spin-off shows while she did not.
In the video, she placed a happy bow on her accomplishments on the show, which propelled her to stardom and fame in 2008: “I’m just so happy that I can say that I was part of a genre that opened up a door for Black ensemble reality shows. I want to thank everybody that has looked up to me over the years. I want to thank Bravo for all the memories. Thank you to the cast for all of the memories.”
Leakes, who has also pursued acting and comedy over the years, earlier this year told her friend Wendy Williams she wanted to quit the show, and Williams revealed that publicly. She said in the video she did try to negotiate with Bravo but couldn’t come to a viable agreement. In August, she went on Twitter to complain that fellow housewives were not supporting her.
Her former boss, Andy Cohen, said on Instagram that Leakes is an “icon of the genre” and a “gif and catchphrase machine.”
Bravo itself released a kind statement: “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.”
Rodney Ho writes about entertainment for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution including TV, radio, film, comedy and all things in between. A native New Yorker, he has covered education at The Virginian-Pilot, small business for The Wall Street Journal and a host of beats at the AJC over 20-plus years. He loves tennis, pop culture & seeing live events.