The Jersey Shore Family Vacation cast was reportedly taken by surprise when Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi announced she plans to retire from the MTV series. The show's production team had an inkling that an announcement was coming, but her co-stars had no idea. Polizzi broke the news on her podcast It's Happening With Snooki & Joey Friday.
"Production knew that she had been thinking about this so they were not surprised," a source told PEOPLE. "The most surprised are the cast, but I think they all understand that she is just exhausted and wants to try and do something on her own. I think she just is probably burned out."
During her podcast, Polizzi said she will not be back on Jersey Shore Family Vacation if there is a fourth season.
"It's definitely a hard decision," she said. "You guys, I love you so much and don't hate me for my decision. But I have to do what's best for me at the moment. I am retiring from Jersey Shore."
The MTV reality star went on to explain, "I am not coming back to Jersey Shore for Season 4 if there is one. And there's a lot of reasons why, but the main reason is... I just can't do it anymore."
"Literally, leaving my kids to film it is really hard on me. I try and quit every single day," she continued. "I just hate being away from the kids. I don’t like partying three days in a row. It’s just not my life anymore. I want to be home with the kid. It’s just really hard for me to leave the kids and film the show."
Polizzi, 32, blamed some of the recent drama that played out on the show, noting that it has turned "so serious." This past season saw Angelina Pivarnick and Jenni "JWoww" Farley at each other's throats after Pivarnick got flirty with Farley's then-boyfriend in Las Vegas. Fans also saw the impact Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino's jail time for tax fraud had on the cast.
"It's not about a team anymore," Polizzi said Friday. "Fans are against one another when it comes to a cast member. I don’t want that. I’m not leaving my kids for days on end to film this show when that’s the result of it. I don’t like the turnout of it. I don’t like the person I’m portrayed as. It’s getting to be a little too much."
"The roomies disagreed with some of her sentiments," PEOPLE's source explained. “How can you go on a podcast and complain that there’s drama when this is a reality show? If there wasn’t drama, it wouldn’t air.”
The source later suggested that her co-stars believe she will return "after she takes a step back for a little."
Polizzi has been on television for a decade, as she was a member of the original Jersey Shore cast. She is now married to Jionni LaValle, and the two have three young children, Lorenzo, 7, Giovanna, 5, and Angelo, 6 months.
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