On September 17, the OG cast member shared her departure news via YouTube ahead of the show’s 13th season. “I have made the hard and very difficult decision to not be a part of Real Housewives of Atlanta season 13,” she said at the time. “It wasn’t an easy decision for me.
Leakes continued, “I have been on an extremely, extremely long, exhausting, tiring, emotional negotiation. There has been a lot of emotion flying on both sides. 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.”
Bravo said in a statement to Us Weekly that they “wish NeNe all the best in her future endeavors and thank her for sharing her journey” with fans. “She’s been instrumental since the start and will truly be missed, and maybe one day she’ll hold the peach again,” the network added.
Leading up to her exit, Leakes’ future ties to the Atlanta franchise had come into question. The month after she virtually walked off the RHOA season 12 reunion special in May, she laughed off rumors that she was jumping ship. Leakes posted a throwback photo at the time of herself cracking up at the season 5 reunion, writing: “I can’t chileeeeeeee.”
Two months later, she briefly deleted her Instagram and even her costars were unsure of what her status was for season 13. “I haven’t seen her. I know she’s dealing with some contract stuff,” Cynthia Bailey told Us exclusively on August 24. “That’s not my business. I hope they work all that out.”
Bailey noted that Leakes was “good” for RHOA, adding, “Bravo’s always publicly said, ‘She always has a home here.’ They’ve always been supportive of whatever she wanted.”
The Glee alum had been a part of RHOA since its debut season in 2008. Though she exited in season 7, she later returned for season 10 in 2017.
Scroll down to see everything Leakes has said about leaving her RHOA days behind her.