Andy Cohen Addresses LeeAnne Locken's 'RHOD' Exit: 'She Made a Significant and Important Contribution'

Andy Cohen applauded LeeAnne Locken's contribution to the show

Andy Cohen is sounding off on LeeAnne Locken‘s departure from the Real Housewives of Dallas.

Cohen addressed Locken’s decision to leave the Bravo franchise after four years on Wednesday, crediting her with the show’s initial success.

“I don’t think that Dallas would still be going if it weren’t for her contribution to the series. She has been an incredibly strong part of the show,” he said during his SiriusXM show, Radio Andy. “A driving character — driving a lot of drama and humor and heart. I want to salute her for that because she has made a significant and important contribution to that show.”

Locken had been a full-time cast member on the Bravo series since its premiere in April 2016. She quickly became known for giving the show some of its most talked-about moments thanks to her bold personality and fiery temper.

This past season of RHOD, Locken was in the hot seat after making racially insensitive comments toward her castmate Kary Brittingham during a group trip to Thailand. At the RHOD reunion, Locken took responsibility for her words — which included calling the Mexican-born Brittingham a “chirpy Mexican” — and vowed to never say them again.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images; Paul Morigi/Getty Images

Referencing the tense reunion, Cohen said he hoped he and Locken could reconnect in the future on better terms.

“On a personal note to her, I wish that our last go-around on the air hadn’t been so contentious,” he said. “I’m hoping that once the breeze has blown through she will come back and join me for a KiKi at some point on Watch What Happens Live.”

And as for RHOD‘s future, Cohen said that while Locken will certainly be missed, he’s “optimistic” that the show will continue to be a success in her absence.

“She will always be a Housewife in our universe. I hope that we will be seeing her in some form or another if she will be there to be seen. I think in terms of the future of the show, we’ve got spectacular casting and I’m looking forward with great optimism and we’ve got a great group of Housewives in Dallas.”

Locken, 52, announced her exit on Tuesday in an exclusive statement to PEOPLE.

“The last four years have been a trolley-slapping good time but after much consideration, I have made the personal decision to step away from RHOD,” she said. “Getting to share my wedding with the viewers last year brought me tremendous joy, however, the season was very personally challenging for me. I am looking forward to stepping away from the cameras and spending quality time with my husband and friends, traveling, but most importantly, getting back to philanthropy, which was my main reason for joining the show.”

“Thank you to everyone who has laughed and cried with me along the way,” Locken added. “It’s been an amazing journey, and yes my pantyliner is still exhausted. There are so many exciting things on my horizon that I can’t wait to share with you.”

In addition to Locken and Brittingham, last season included Brandi Redmond, Stephanie Hollman, Kameron Westcott and D’Andra Simmons.

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