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The Real Housewives family is getting even smaller after a huge announcement from NeNe Leakes. The longtime star of The Real Housewives of Atlanta posted an emotional video in which she confirmed some rumors that she won't return to the Bravo series when it returns for Season 13. Leakes' departure is the latest but not first in the Real Housewives franchise in recent weeks.
In a video posted on September 17 with the title "Listen Closely, I got something to tell you," NeNe Leakes broke the news to her 123,000 subscribers. At the time of writing, the video has already been viewed more than 44,000 times and accumulated nearly 1,600 comments. Take a look at Leakes' big news about The Real Housewives of Atlanta!
In her video, NeNe Leakes was emotional but straightforward in explaining that she won't be back to The Real Housewives of Atlanta. While she didn't drop details about what happened behind the scenes, she did reveal that her decision to leave came at the end of a negotiation with the Bravo series that was "extremely long, exhausting, tiring, emotional." She also explicitly stated that the decision wasn't easy.
That said, NeNe Leakes wasn't bitter in her announcement. She took the time to thank the people who helped her over her years on The Real Housewives of Atlanta, which was in many ways revolutionary to reality TV even as an installment in a franchise. She also thanked her fans who looked up to her and rooted for her, Bravo for all the memories, the cast, her team, and her production company.
Interestingly, NeNe Leakes also addressed a recent report that seemingly released a statement on her behalf, clarifying that she had no knowledge of it and didn't approve it. She further stated that she always wanted to be the one to "address you" when it comes to topics that are near and dear to her heart. She certainly did address her departure firsthand with this video, running for over five minutes and providing plenty of information that likely couldn't be gleaned from a quick statement.
Rumors of NeNe Leakes leaving Real Housewives of Atlanta ahead of Season 13 began to circulate back in June, when reports emerged that stated that she'd been fired from the show. That rumor was debunked by both Leakes' manager, Steven Grossman, and a Bravo spokesperson, both of whom stated (via People) that she had not been fired and talks regarding Season 13 were still ongoing.
As of the end of The Real Housewives of Atlanta Season 12, NeNe Leakes was the only original cast member still part of the show, although she was only a guest in Season 8 and didn't appear in Season 9. Her absence from Season 13 should be felt by fans, especially since Leakes gave no indication in her video that she intends to rejoin as a cast member at any point in the future.
Season 12 of The Real Housewives of Atlanta wrapped back in May, so viewers have seen their last of NeNe Leakes on the show at least for now. Leakes has worked as an actress as well as reality TV personality, so it's entirely possible she won't be absent from the small screen for long. If you're in the market for some viewing options now and in the coming weeks, be sure to check out our 2020 fall TV premiere schedule.