Cynthia Bailey Explains Her Decision to Leave 'RHOA' and Why She's 'Happy but ... Also Sad'

The reality star has been a full-time cast member of the Bravo series since its third season in 2010

Real Housewives of Atlanta
Cynthia Bailey. Photo: Bravo Media

Cynthia Bailey is opening up about her decision to exit The Real Housewives of Atlanta.

Earlier this week, the 54-year-old reality star — who has been a full-time cast member of the Bravo series since its third season in 2010 — announced in an Instagram post that she would be leaving the show.

On Friday, speaking with E! News' Daily Pop, Bailey explained why now is the right time for her to step away from the series. "It's been an incredible journey and I have to be honest you guys, I'm happy but I'm also sad at the same time," she said. "It's almost like, 'What in the world, how did I do this for 11 years?' "

"When I look back, even looking at the intro, I want to go back and watch all the seasons with me on it. Because when you live it, when you're a part of it, it's actually [a] very difficult show to watch sometimes. It's a hard show to do," Bailey continued. "I feel like I did it, I did it my way and I made it out alive, with a brand and a whole husband."

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Cynthia Bailey
Cynthia Bailey. Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Bailey said on Daily Pop that her decision to leave wasn't spontaneous. "It was time, it was honestly time," she said. "I had been thinking about it for a while — just the whole transition. I knew it wasn't going to last forever. I knew I didn't want to do it forever."

"Ten years is a good run," she added, "but that said, with me just thinking about it, then the whole thing happened with us going on hiatus so it gave me more time to think about it and then I got really used to not going back."

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And, according to Bailey, her time on RHOA almost came close to not being officially over, as she had been offered the opportunity to appear on the series as a "friend" of the show for the program's upcoming season 14.

"Ironically, I actually introduced the 'friend' contract on the show, but that's neither here nor there," she said. "And I thought, 'You know what? That may be a perfect way for me to transition. I don't have to commit completely fully to being a Housewife, and I can be a friend and kind of phase myself off the show.' And then I decided, you know what, cut the cord."

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Bailey also shut down any speculation that her husband, Mike Hill — who is based in Los Angeles — played any part in her decision to leave RHOA.

"Listen, let me correct the streets," she said on Daily Pop. "Mike has always been super supportive of me, for sure. At the end of the day, he wants me to do what is going to be best for me and what's happy for me."

And although she won't be a part of the cast moving forward, Bailey isn't leaving the Real Housewives franchise completely.

She is part of the cast of the upcoming Housewives crossover vacation series, alongside fan-favorites Luann de Lesseps, Melissa Gorga, Teresa Giudice, Kenya Moore, Kyle Richards and Ramona Singer. The show is set to stream on Peacock later this year.

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