Tuesday, June 30, 2015

NeNe Leakes Is Leaving Real Housewives of Atlanta: 'I Feel Like a Weight Has Been Lifted'

You're going to need a glass of wine for this one. After nearly eight drama-filled years on Bravo's hit Real Housewives of Atlanta, fast-talking fan favorite NeNe Leakes is calling it quits, she tells PEOPLE exclusively.

Leakes, 47, – arguably the network's biggest star, who's been with the show since its inception – will not be returning for season 8. She says there comes a time when enough is enough.

"This was definitely a hard decision for me," Leakes tells PEOPLE. "Me and my husband [Gregg Leakes] have been going back and forth on it for weeks now. But my contract is up and I just think this is the right time. This is my opportunity to spread my wings and do different things."

The announcement comes with the news that Leakes will soon be focusing on totally new projects

"I'm actually going to be doing a new primetime television show with a big legend," Leakes teases of the series she begins filming this week. "All of my fans will get to see me be really happy, witty and funny and tell all of those one liners that I always have said on Housewives."

It's a positive new direction that the mother of two is more than happy to take.

"I feel a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders," says Leakes, who throughout the years was the center of many arguments and altercations on the show.  
Wow! This comes as a shock. For the most part I've always been a huge NeNe fan so it's kind of sad to see her go. To be fair tho, NeNe did pretty much run out of friends on 'RHOA' and tho I haven't followed any of her acting gigs, she's obviously serious about it, so you can only wish her well. Not only will NeNe be missed, but 'RHOA' will never be the same without her.

RELATED: When Reality TV Worlds Collide: NeNe Leakes Joins Kim Kardashian's Game