UPDATE, 9/17/20, 5:15pm ET: A Bravo spokesperson tells HollywoodLife, “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.”
ORIGINAL: Another OG has left the building. NeNe Leakes, 52, who began on The Real Housewives of Atlanta over a decade ago, has revealed that she’s leaving the hit reality show. The mother-of-two made the announcement in a September 17 video on her YouTube channel, titled, “Listen Closely, I got something to tell you!” NeNe said that after a lot of “emotional negotiations” with Bravo about her contract, she’s handing in her peach.
“There’s been a lot of emotions on both sides,” she shared with fans. “It’s been hard and I have made a hard, difficult decision to not be part of Real Housewives of Atlanta season 13,” adding that it “wasn’t an easy decision for me.” She reflected on the good memories she’ll hold onto from RHOA, too. “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,” she said. “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.”
Bravo head honcho Andy Cohen wrote an emotional message on Instagram following NeNe’s shocking announcement. “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”.
NeNe first exited the Bravo series as a full-time cast member at the end of season seven, although she did make guest appearances for season eight. She retained her peach two years where she remained in that position up until season twelve. It wasn’t too much of a mystery that NeNe was planning on doing this given all the speculation over if she was going to sign on for season 13 that happened ahead of time. She deleted her Instagram account on Thursday, August 26, weeks before sharing the big news.
There was also all of those cryptic tweets she was posting that alluded to her being frustrated over her position with the long-running show. “The ladies are a little annoyed that Nene hasn’t signed her contract yet. They feel she does this every year and puts herself on this pedestal and they just roll their eyes a bit over it,” a source close to production EXCLUSIVELY told HollywoodLife in early August. Regardless, “They’re not surprised.”
Kandi Burruss, 44, who has been a full-time cast member on RHOA since season 2, chatted with HL back in July regarding her feelings on the NeNe situation. “Listen, she and I, we’re like oil and water sometimes, but I definitely would love for her to be back,” she said, referencing her very on again, off again relationship that they have had for years.
Several Real Housewives veterans exited their individual franchises in 2020, much to the shock of their adoring fans. Vicki Gunvalson, 58, and Tamra Judge, 52, exited RHOC in January. Others who have since revealed that they won’t be a Bravolebrity anymore include RHONY’s Tinsley Mortimer, 45, and Dorinda Medley, 55, as well as RHOD‘s LeeAnne Locken, 53.