NeNe Leakes Is Leaving ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’

Nene Leakes

NeNe Leakes is leaving The Real Housewives of Atlanta, the Bravo star announced in a statement on Monday, June 29.

“After seven seasons of being part of Real Housewives of Atlanta, I can confirm that I am not going to be returning to the show for Season 8. I am grateful to Bravo, Andy Cohen and True Entertainment for giving me the opportunity to show the world NeNe Leakes and sometimes to show them NayNay,” the reality star told PEOPLE in an exclusive interview. “Being part of RHOA has been a big part of my life but I’m excited for new the beginnings I am pursuing and embarking upon. Thank you so much to everyone who has watched and supported me over the years on this amazing platform. With lots of thought and prayer I’ve decided to step out on faith and not fear.”

Leakes, who was the only remaining original cast member of the reality TV show, was also arguably the biggest star on the network.

“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.”

Now that the reality star has chosen to take her career in a different direction, she wants everyone to know that they will still be able to catch her on the small screen.

“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.”

(Photo Credit: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images For Fashion For Relief)