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July 26, 2018 08:38 PM

Carole Radziwill‘s decision to leave The Real Housewives of New York City may not have just been about getting back to her career in journalism and producing.

PEOPLE has learned that her ongoing feud with Bethenny Frankel influenced her choice, as indicated by the portion of her statement in which she said she was “thrilled to leave frenemies behind.”

In RHONY‘s tenth season, the former BFFs have had a very strained relationship, which Frankel has said made filming the show “challenging” for her. As a result of the animosity between them, Radziwill’s departure from the Bravo reality series may be for the best, sources say.

“They never seemed to be able to reconcile. The show couldn’t go on another season with both of them at each other’s throats. And Bethenny’s an OG. She’s been there since the beginning. She’s a [piece of work], but she gives the show a lot of energy,” a source tells PEOPLE. “There’s no way they’re going to do it without her. Last time she left, the show went to hell.”

The source continues, “Keeping Bethenny happy will always be top priority — the same way it is with Lisa Vanderpump, Teresa Giudice, and NeNe Leakes. So if it came down to one or the other, you can guess who [producers] would pick.”

However, one production source insists that as far as producers are concerned, Radziwill could have chosen to stay: “She was not pushed to leave. She left on her own accord.”

Despite her disagreements with Frankel, Radziwill maintained a solid relationship with the rest of the RHONY cast, including Tinsley MortimerRamona SingerDorinda MedleySonja Morgan, and Luann de Lesseps.

Patrick Ecclesine/Bravo

Radziwill’s sudden departure, after five seasons on the show, has hit her other costars hard.

“The rest of the cast is all freaked out about the negative energy and upset to see Carole go,” a third source tells PEOPLE. “She was the one sane voice who was cool, calm and collected.”

Radziwill announced her impending exit from the series in a statement to PEOPLE on Wednesday, saying, “After six seasons on Bravo’s RHONY, I have decided to return to what I do best —  journalism and producing. I am sure this does not come as a surprise to any of the viewers, all of whom have been supportive, encouraging, and kind. My original curiosity about reality television has waned over the years and I am focusing on TV and writing projects that better suit my more steady temperament.”

She continued, “I have worked with amazing producers, made great friends, and I’m thrilled to leave frenemies behind. I will remember this entire experience with delight, humor, and a veracious accuracy. Next.”

Reps for Bravo, Frankel and Radziwill had no comment.

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