NeNe Leakes, the longtime cast member of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, has announced her decision to leave the reality series. Posting to her YouTube page Thursday, Leakes revealed that after "emotional negotiations" with Bravo, she couldn't come to a deal with the network and decided to walk away.
"There's been a lot of emotions on both sides. It's been hard and I have made a hard, difficult decision to not be part of Real Housewives of Atlanta season 13," Leakes told fans. "It wasn't an easy decision for me. It was hard."
Leakes told her fans that she would miss them tuning in to follow her life via the show. She also reflected on the reality series' accomplishments and created opportunities for Black figures and ensembles on reality shows.
"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," Leakes 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."
Leakes has hinted at her future with the series since rumors dropped in June that she was fired from the series. The 52-year-old seemed to address ongoing negotiations with Bravo in a tweet from July, but shut down the rumors she was fired shortly before.
"Not sure where these rumors are coming from!" Leakes told ET. "If these negotiations don't work out, I will announce it myself." Leakes did exactly as she said, announcing her exit herself, shortly followed by Bravo's official statement and a heartfelt post full of praise for Leakes from executive producer Andy Cohen.
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"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," Cohen wrote alongside personal photos with the reality star, according to ET. "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."
Leakes was an original on Real Housewives of Atlanta, only skipping season nine and running into drama with the season 12 virtual reunion earlier this year. And while she faced accusations of missing episodes and holding focus despite her absences, Leakes responded to ET and put it to rest.
"I may have missed episodes, but I did not miss one check -- and they teased me [in] every episode until I showed up," Leakes said. "So, for anybody that has anything to say about me not being in an episode, NeNe, don't forget to let them know, honey, you never missed a check and you were teased until you showed up. And if I wasn't needed, they wouldn't have had to tease me, honey."