"If I wanted to return to Housewives, I could have. I had an offer," NeNe Leakes said

By Robyn Merrett
October 01, 2020 09:05 PM
Advertisement
NeNe Leakes

NeNe Leakes says she's not returning to The Real Housewives of Atlanta after announcing her exit from the show last month.

"I am not going to return to Housewives, that's not what this is about," Leakes, 52, said during an interview with Extra's Billy Bush. "If I wanted to return to Housewives, I could have. I had an offer."

A rep for Bravo did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Although she has no plans to rejoin the cast, Leakes shared with Extra that she is "hopeful" about her relationship with Bravo, the network that airs the Real Housewives franchise, going forward.

"I am very hopeful that we can work out our relationship out behind-the-scenes without everyone being involved," Leakes said during the interview.

Leakes also asserted that she wasn't fired from the franchise, but left because she was "pushed out," echoing similar sentiments that she shared on Twitter on Sept. 26.

In a Twitter exchange on Saturday, a fan asked Leakes if she would be getting her own spinoff show from Bravo. The reality star replied, “They don’t think I deserve to work at all in any [capacity].”

“It sound[s] like they forced you out!” another fan said, to which Leakes responded: “They definitely did.”

Also in her interview with Extra, Leakes said that leading up to her departure from the show, she made fewer and fewer appearances on the show.

"Something is very wrong with going from 18 or 23 episodes down to six ... In the last four to five years, it has been less and less," Leakes shared, adding that "Things just didn't feel fair."

Leakes addressed calling Andy Cohen racist, telling Extra: "This is a conversation that he and I and people involved are going to have to deal with behind scenes. All I can do is take you back to one of my old sayings, 'I said what I said.' "

(Leakes wrote on Twitter on Sept. 27 that "The racist is the master manipulator! They using me for ratings like they have always done," of Cohen.)

She also spoke out about her feud with Wendy Williams, who said during a recent appearance on Watch What Happens Live that Leakes "likes attention."

"There are real feelings involved here. I would never just come out just saying anything just because I want attention," Leakes said during her interview with Extra regarding her speaking about her exit on Twitter.

Leakes announced on Sept. 17 on her Youtube channel that she would not be returning to the hit Bravo series for its upcoming 13th season.

"Thank you to all of you guys that have been showing me a lot of love and support as of late. I feel you, I hear you. I have been on an extremely, extremely long, exhausting, tiring, emotional negotiation. There has been a lot of emotion flying on both sides," she said in the video. "It has been hard, and I have made the very hard and difficult decision to not be a part of Real Housewives of Atlanta season 13."

"It wasn't an easy decision for me," she continued. "It was hard. I started on The Real Housewives of Atlanta in 2008. We took off like a rocket. I mean, we took off. You could have never told me that I would start on this little show and it still be going strong 13, 14 years later. And it is. I'm just so happy that I can say that I was a part of a genre that opened up doors for Black ensemble reality shows to step up and be a part of what we all now love so much, reality TV."

NeNe Leakes with Andy Cohen, Ramona Singer, Vicki Gunvalson, Kyle Richards and Teresa Giudice
| Credit: Charles Sykes/Bravo

Leakes thanked fans, Bravo, the cast and her team for supporting her over the years. She ended her message by promising, "I will see you again. Real soon."

In a statement to PEOPLE, a Bravo rep said, "We wish Nene all the best in her future endeavors and thank her for sharing her journey for over a decade with the fans of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. She's been instrumental since the start and will truly be missed, and maybe one day she'll hold the peach again."

As to the reason behind her exit, Leakes claimed on Twitter on Sept. 27 that she was only offered half a season, while other, white Housewives OGs, including Beverly Hills' Kyle Richards and New York's Ramona Singer, were offered full seasons. (The casts of RHONY and RHOBH for next season have yet to be confirmed, but one original Housewife, RHOC's Vicki Gunvalson, said she quit ahead of the new season.)

"We strictly talking the OG’s. I was the ONLY BLACK OG. My white counter parts were elevated and given full season episodes EVERY season. Each season i was given less & less. Don’t ask me, @ Andy and @ Bravo and ask them why," she tweeted.