We know it’s hard to believe that anyone would ever not want to spend the majority of their lives being chased by cameras and talking about Kim Zolciak’s wigs, but apparently, there’s someone who’s had their fill. Lisa Wu, original Real Housewives of Atlanta cast member and wife of NFL player Ed Hartwell, did not return for Season 3 last Fall. The gossip mill always lights up whenever a housewife departs the franchise, and Lisa’s case has been no different.
Rumors first started when Lisa was a no-show for a production shoot for the show’s opening montage. It was later discovered that she wasn’t on much of the production roster, nor was she slated to participate in any promotional work. Officially, Lisa is said to have parted “amicably" due to “creative differences” with the producers of the show. Rumors are that Lisa was upset over attempts to “script” much of her story line in the show, and she ultimately decided that if her real life drama wasn’t enough, then it was time to leave.
Lisa is working on establishing herself as a legitimate actress, and has been successful landing work. She’s been vetted for parts on Tyler Brown’s Meet the Browns, and reportedly has a small role in an upcoming feature with Robert Downey, Jr. It’s not unlikely that she wants to distance herself from the near circus-like exploits of Bravo's remaining Southern Belles.
Or, maybe it’s the fallout from constant scrutiny over her finances. In 2007, before the first season of the show premiered, Lisa filed for bankruptcy, which was not the best way to start showing off how glamorous her life was. Ed’s NFL career slowly began to wane, culiminating in 2009, when he was released by the Oakland Raiders. (Ed is now signed to the Las Vegas Locomotives, a UFL football team). By 2009, all of the Web sites promoting Lisa and her businesses (real estate, jewelry, etc.) had been shut down.
In 2009, the Hartwells lost their lavish mansion (yes, the one that had that bowling alley) to foreclosure, forcing them to move to smaller digs 40 miles outside of Atlanta. The distance alone was said to have put pressures on the show's production schedule. And let’s face it: it’s hard to be on a show glamorizing lavish lifestyles in Atlanta, when one of the stars lives in a remote suburban outpost, quite possibly clipping coupons to Denny’s and ducking calls from credit collectors. We wouldn’t know what it’s like to face the stigma of not being able to support a glamorous lifestyle, because our glamorous lifestyle consists of living off ramen noodles and stealing napkins and silverware from Taco Bell, so we’ll assume it’s no picnic.
Bravo wasted no time replacing Lisa with new stars Cynthia Bailey and Phaedra Parks for Season 3. Lisa herself has remained relatively silent about the split with Bravo, although all indications are that she will make cameos from time to time. And who knows, maybe Lisa will reunite with her cast mates in the future... perhaps an all-cast musical stage version of “Don’t Be Tardy for the Party?”