Billie Lee Quits Vanderpump Rules and Claims Bullying On and Off-Camera Left Her Feeling Suicidal
Billie Lee‘s time at SUR has come to an end.
The Vanderpump Rules star announced on her personal blog Monday that she will no longer be a member on the Bravo reality series because of the toll it was taking on her well-being, adding that “bullying” she experienced on the job brought up “suicidal thoughts.”
In a lengthy blog post titled “Two Week Notice,” Lee claimed that while she met many “wonderful” people working at SUR — some of whom she even calls “family” — some of her co-workers “were threatened by my differences, going out of their way to exclude me, one demanding I be fired from the show because he didn’t feel comfortable working with me.”
Without naming names, she alleged that the person who wanted her to be fired said, “I’m not gonna lose all I have worked hard for for something stupid I may say or do to offend her. Are we all supposed to tiptoe around her because she’s trans?”
“Like most men during the #MeToo movement he was so afraid of saying the wrong thing that he just wanted me gone,” Lee said in her post, adding that before she moved to Los Angeles, she had experienced suicidal thoughts, and they began to resurface.
“The bullying on and off-camera brought my deep insecurities to the surface, this dark black mirror held up high for everyone in public to see and to judge,” she said. “The reflection of fear and anger led me back to depression and suicidal thoughts. I honestly thought I was finished with this type of bullying after high school and college but once again I found myself 34, depressed, and fantasizing about taking my own life.”
A representative for Bravo did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
After spending some time in self-reflection, Lee said she concluded: “that SUR was no longer right for me!”
“I had many people try to convince me to stay, ‘Billie do another year! You are stronger than this.’ But honestly, I couldn’t do another year and I wasn’t strong enough,” Lee continued, adding that the West Hollywood restaurant will “always be a place I cherish,” and expressing gratitude towards the co-owners Nathalie and Guillermo Zapata.
Lee also gave a shoutout to restauranteur Lisa Vanderpump, saying, “I’m also grateful for Lisa, your encouragement and blessing to move forward with this new chapter of mine means the world to me.”
And what will that new chapter entail?
“With the help of so many powerful people including Lisa I now have the opportunity to lead my own projects that you will see in 2020,” Lee said, adding that she is currently working with Regenix on an anti-bullying campaign, as well as Equality LA, on which she serves on the board of advisors.
“It is my mission to end bullying and I’m proud to announce my new partnership with GLSEN who work hard creating safe places for the LGBTQ+ youth in our schools,” she said. “Together we will make a difference and that difference will save lives!”
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Lee ended her blog on a positive note, with some words of encouragement to others.
“If you ask me, my journey has only just begun,” she said. “Every day is an opportunity to take back your dream, to embrace your journey and live the life you’ve always wanted. You are never too old or ‘too gay’ and it’s never too late to start over.”
Some of Lee’s feuds with her costars have been publicized.
“They come in and they think they’re about to be a star, and it’s, like, ‘You have no idea what’s coming for you,” Schroeder, 31, continued, saying that Lee was “most guilty” of acting that way.
“‘You don’t even go here’ — that’s what it feels like,” Schroeder said.
“If she was actually nice and kind and friendly to us, I think she would [fit in], but to just expect to be invited to every little thing we do, when we don’t know you, and pitch a fit when you’re not… acting like we’ve been friends for years? You just met us, so, no you’re not coming to my little four-girl wine night.”
Lee told PEOPLE at the time that she wasn’t seeking her co-worker’s friendship or approval, however.
“I don’t recall missing out on a wine night of only four? So to call me mean is another crazy accusation. I’ve barely hung out with her, but thus far our interactions have been nothing but kind,” Lee said, adding, “And to call my ‘fights’ ridiculous? It’s ridiculous to want to be included? It’s ridiculous to want diversity and inclusion at the workplace? Shame on her.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “home” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.