Star and beloved cast member of Real Housewives of Atlanta NeNe Leakes has surprised fans by announcing on Thursday that she is leaving the show. The reality star shared an emotional video on her YouTube channel talking about the decision to quit and revealing her plans. 

Leakes Uploads a Video

Leakes starts the video by saying, “I haven’t done this in awhile. I don’t know where to start. Thank you guys for showing me a lot of love and support as of late. I feel you, I hear you.”

Leakes pauses, then adds, “I have been on an extremely extremely long, exhausting, tiring, emotional negotiation. There has been a lot of emotion flying from both sides. It has been hard, and I have made a very hard and difficult decision to not be a part of Real Housewives of Atlanta season 13.”

The 52-year-old reality star adds somberly, “It wasn’t an easy decision for me… … I started on [RHOA] in 2008. We took off like a rocket. …You could have never told me that I would star on this little show and it would still be going strong 13, 14 years later, and it is. I’m just so happy that I can say that I was a part of a genre that opened up doors for black ensemble reality shows to step up and be a part of what we all now love so much; reality tv.”

Smiling but emotional, Leakes goes on, “I want to thank everybody that has looked up to me over the years. Thank you so much for your love and your support. I want to thank Bravo TV. Thank you Bravo for all the memories, the laughs, the tears.”

The former RHOA star goes on to thank her production company, her castmates, team, and her fans. 

NeNe Addresses Rumors

Leakes pauses thoughtfully and says, “I also want to say, I think it was last week when a report came out that said that my team, or someone from my team, had released a statement on my behalf; I have no knowledge of it. I did not approve it. When something is this important and this near and dear to my heart, I always want to be the person to address you. I can’t confirm or deny anything they have in that report, but I can say that it was not brought to my attention. I have no knowledge of it. I did not approve it.”

Leakes Gets Love from Andy Cohen, and Sends Love to Fans

Andy Cohen was quick to send Leakes his love and support after the announcement was uploaded, saying on Instagram, “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.”

Leakes finished the video with another message for fans, adding, “I want to again say thank you guys, I love you guys, you mean so much to me. And I will see you again real soon.”

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