The 19 Most Influential Real Housewives Who've Said They've Quit the Show
These cast members made headlines when they announced their surprising departures
"It was a crazy ride. It’s not easy doing reality TV, and to be quite honest, I’m over it," Samuels said. “I appreciate everything that people have done for me, everybody that's been Team Monique — I love y'all, I thank y'all — but when you cross certain lines there's no going back."
"And for me, my family is that line," she continued. "The opinion of my family and my kids and what they think about anything that I do is more valuable than anybody’s opinion, so I’m over it."
A rep for Bravo did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
During her Live, Samuels further explained her reasoning behind leaving the show, saying that "enough is enough."
"I wanted to represent real Black love and show people something outside of what the stereotype has been on TV," she added. "Unfortunately, this season, I played right into that stereotype ... I was working overtime to really check myself because that is the opposite of what I want to display on a TV show and in real life, most importantly. I'm always going to be a great example of a role model for my kids and you have to know when enough is enough."
After months of speculation, Leakes, 52, confirmed she will not be returning to the Real Housewives of Atlanta for its upcoming 13th season, she announced Sept. 17 on her YouTube channel.
"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."
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."
After two eventful seasons, Richards will not be returning to the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, a rep for the actress confirmed to PEOPLE on Sept. 9, 2020. Bravo had no comment.
Variety was the first to report the news.
The star first joined the series in 2019 for season 9 and decided not to return after a very tense season 10, during which Richards found herself at odds with nearly all of her costars.
Season 10's drama centered around Richards being upset that the topic of threesomes was brought up by her fellow Housewives at her family barbecue — where her children were present — and her alleged affair with Brandi Glanville, which Richards has adamantly denied.
After six seasons, Dorinda Medley has decided to call it "clip."
Medley, who joined The Real Housewives of New York cast in 2015 for season 7, announced on Instagram that she would be turning in her apple and leaving the franchise.
"What a journey this has been. I have laughed and cried and tried to Make it Nice," Medley began her lengthy Instagram caption.
She continued, "But all things must come to an end. This was a great outlet for me to heal when my late husband Richard passed away. I have met so many interesting people and learned so much about myself, about life and about women along the way."
She concluded by thanking everyone who helped her along her RHONY journey. "Thank you to Bravo and NBC for the incredible ride and to my cast mates for constant stimulation and entertainment. I wish you all health, happiness and success," she wrote, ending her message with, "Clip!"
"I appreciate the bond of friendship that I’ve made with my castmates and strong personal relationships I have with numerous executives and producers of Bravo," she said in a statement. "I am thankful for the opportunity I was provided, however, after speaking with my family and representatives, I believe that what I hope to accomplish for the culture and community will be better served by focusing on other opportunities."
"I look forward to serving the community on Ricky Smiley Morning show and finding other ways to be a voice during this transformational time during our country for people of color," she continued.
Bravo did not immediately return PEOPLE's request for comment.
Marcille joined the hit franchise in 2017 as a “friend of the Housewives" but quickly proved herself to be a main player and was promoted to full-time Housewife by season 11.
One of the realest Real Housewives of Dallas stars will not be returning for season five. After four years on the show, Locken told PEOPLE exclusively on Feb. 25, 2020 that she is officially saying goodbye.
“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,” Locken said in a statement.
“Getting to share my wedding with the viewers last year brought me tremendous joy, however, the season was very personally challenging for me,” she continued. “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.”
The Orange County Housewife is saying goodbye after 12 seasons.
Judge has been a castmember on the Bravo franchise since it’s third season in 2007. She’s currently the longest-running full-time cast member in Housewives history.
“It’s been a wild ride, and after all these years, I’m looking forward to life away from the cameras,” Judge told PEOPLE. “I was offered a chance to come back to the show in a limited role, but would prefer to walk away on my own terms.”
A source told PEOPLE “[Tamra] was asked back for three episodes, so producers could close out her storyline.”
“Eddie and the kids are very excited,” Judge added of her husband and her four children — sons Ryan Vieth, 34, and Spencer Barney 19, and daughter Sydney Barney, 21, and Sophia Barney, 14.
“I want to thank all the fans who have offered me their support over the years,” she continued. “It’s meant a lot.”
The O.G. of the O.C. announced her departure from the series on Instagram late Friday night on Jan. 24, 2020.
"I will always be the OG of the OC, but it’s time to say goodbye to The Real Housewives of Orange County," the star began her lengthy farewell post. "It’s been an incredible ride for 14 years and I want thank all of you for your support, for your love and for 'whooping it up' with me along the way."
"I’ve been working on new projects that will be exciting, empowering and inspirational," she continued. "My podcast with Westwood One will be launching soon and I will have much more to say about this on 'Whoop it up with Vicki.' I hope you will join me with my new journey so please stay tuned."
She closed out her note, writing, "I love all my fans, and I want to thank Bravo and Evolution for this incredible experience which my family and I have will never forget."
“I have, over the past 12 years and 10 seasons, been a part of this whole franchise and I’ve been very happy to rally and stand on a platform and be here with all of you,” said Staub. “But it is time for me to leave and do something that I want to do that makes my heart happy every day.”
Her announcement left Cohen shocked. “This is entirely your move, I just want to point that out,” he said. “I didn’t expect you to say the word never, I’ve got to digest this during the commercial break.”
The O.G. Beverly Hills Housewife left after nine seasons. Vanderpump confirmed the news just after Andy Cohen revealed that she would not be attending season 9's reunion taping.
“The last year was a very negative year for me,” she told Extra of her experience during her final season, during which her brother and mother died. “I feel like we’re moving forward. They have had their resolution. I just had a horrible time with the show and the women. It was a very sad time in my life and it wasn’t made any better. I just decided to walk away.”
Vanderpump had previously hinted that she planned to skip the reunion, then later announced to the Daily Mail that she was done with the show entirely. As for a possible comeback, the star said it would be difficult for her to return.
“I think they’ve made it pretty impossible for me to go back frankly,” she said of her former castmates. “So … no.”
The Skinnygirl mogul called it quits ahead of New York's season 12.
“I have decided to leave the Housewives franchise to explore my next chapter,” Frankel said in a statement to PEOPLE.
“It’s time to move on and focus on my daughter, my philanthropy and my production partnership with Mark Burnett, producing and starring in shows which represent a shift in the conversation for women,” said Frankel, who is mom to daughter Bryn, whom she shares with ex Jason Hoppy.
“With the changes in modern culture, I want to highlight the strength, confidence and unstoppable power that women have. My experience at Bravo has been an incredibly magical ride,” she continued. “I am so grateful to them for highlighting my entrepreneurialism and allowing me to pave the way for many women to achieve their goals. I am excited for my future. The best is yet to come.”
Although the news came as a shock to her castmates, who reportedly did not know Frankel was planning to leave, fellow New York O.G. Ramona Singer told PEOPLE that this wasn't the first time Frankel had kept quiet about leaving the show.
“When she left in season 4, we found out through the press she was doing her spinoff, Bethenny Getting Married. She was upset we never congratulated her, but we were upset she never told us! And that’s how we feel now," Singer said. "There is a camaraderie among us as a cast. Love us, hate us, not like us — we are a team. To hear this from the press and not through her is upsetting."
She added, “I really wish her well, though. The show’s a machine and it will continue on. We’re all just a cog in the wheel. No one is irreplaceable.”
“After a lot of careful thought and deliberation, I have decided not to return to RHOC this season,” the Orange County alumna told Bravo’s The Daily Dish after five seasons on the show. “These past five years have been an incredible journey and I’m so proud to have been a part of such an iconic piece of pop culture. I am so grateful to Evolution Media, Bravo and the whole NBCU family for all of the incredible experiences and the opportunities RHOC has afforded me and my family.”
“However, at this point in my life, I have decided to go in another direction and do what’s best for my family and career,” she continued. “Should I change my mind, I thank Andy Cohen, Evolution and Bravo for telling me that the door is always open.”
Dubrow, who joined the cast in season 7, shared her life with husband Terry, as well as their four kids Maximillia, Collette, Nicholas and Katarina.
The former Beverly Hills star quit before season 4.
"There were some good times and some not so good times, but it’s very hard to live your life out on the screen," a source close to Grammer told PEOPLE at the time, referencing the star's divorce from Kelsey Grammer, which played out on the show’s first season.
Grammer later became a friend of the Housewives, making recurring appearances on the show — up until Kyle Richards allegedly said no more.
“I wasn’t asked back. It’s fine,” Grammer tweeted in 2019 in response to a follower who asked if she would be returning to the series for season 10. “I did my time on the show. And it’s Kyle's show.”
When fans expressed their disbelief over the decision, Grammer said, "It was was [sic] up to Kyle. I’m really fine. After the reunion, I didn’t want to come back. It was an awful experience.”
Bravo had no comment on the matter when contacted by PEOPLE. Reps for Richards and Grammer did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Grammer's exit was revealed the same day it was announced that Garcelle Beauvais and Sutton Stracke would be joining the RHOBH cast for season 10.
The former Atlanta peach said she was "done with this whole thing" and made her exit after walking out on the cast and shoving a camera out of her way during an episode of season 5. The dramatic scene aligned with the news that she was getting her own spinoff show called Don’t Be Tardy for the Wedding, in addition to confirmation that her other show, Don’t Be Tardy, was picked up for a second season.
While Zolciak-Biermann remained adamant that she was leaving to concentrate on her other TV ventures, longtime nemesis Nene Leakes tweeted that she was allegedly fired.
“It’s so funny how this chick wants people 2 think she quit the show! The producers no longer wanted 2 work wit u! Good bye wit the lies,” Leakes Tweeted on Nov. 23, 2012.
Zolciak-Biermann responded: "I definitely was NOT fired from RHOA I can guarantee u that!!! My spinoff last year was a 1 time thing so this spinoff is brand new! Bye hater!!!!”
After the dramatic exit, the star appeared on the show a few more times but made it extra clear in April 2018 that she would "never" return because it was "too much stress — unneeded stress."
“After four solid seasons of helping Bravo build the show into its most successful Housewives franchise, I have decided to leave,” the Atlanta cast member told Wetpaint Entertainment in 2012. “The direction the show is going in is no longer a fit for my lifestyle. I’m tired of the fighting and the cattiness.”
“I want to be part of something that empowers and inspires women to not only be healthy, but to treat themselves with respect," she continued. "I wish the rest of the women the best of luck.”
The She by Shereé mogul has since come back to the show as a friend for season 8, and rejoined full-time for seasons 9 and 10. But when asked if she was returning to RHOA for season 11 on Instagram, the star wrote, "Currently living my best life. Was not interested in entertaining the low ball offer that was sent. Know ur worth."
She also went on to tell fans that she wasn’t worried about money, writing, “Don’t you fret… I’m good love!” to one fan and writing, “You may be seeing me soon!” to another, who asked her about coming out with her own show.
The mother of three and one of the original Jersey Housewives was offered to return to the show for its 10th season, after making her exit following season 5, but shot down the "insulting" offer. Manzo explained why on an episode of son Albie Manzo’s podcast Dear Albie, saying that she got a firm proposal for a part-time (friend) role that could've possibly expanded into a full-time one, but she was not happy about it.
“It’s very insulting," she said on Dear Albie. “It just makes me angry that [Bravo] picked up and call me like I’m a fool. Ten years I’m playing this game, there’s no fool. You are talking to no fool … I’m nobody’s ‘Friend.’ I’m not ‘Friend of.’ I’m not ‘Housewife, maybe.’ I’m Housewife!”
“Pay me what I’m worth; you got an O.G. here,” Caroline added. “I’m going to be arrogant … it’s just a matter of respect! I was one of the original women who built the show. I’m one of the original women they still talk about. Don’t come back to me like a newbie and I’m going to fall for your bulls— because I’m not. You come back to me and give me a reasonable compensation and a reasonable position where I feel I belong.”
At the RHOBH season 8 premiere party, sister and fellow RHOBH castmate Kyle said that Kim — whose battle with addiction and recovery played out throughout the series — was doing well, but was too busy living her life and spending time with her grandson, Hucksley, to continue with the show.
“She’s with her grandchild almost every day,” Kyle said, adding that her sister’s sobriety was going well. “I see her with him and I’m like, ‘Okay you’re good. You’re so happy.’ "
“There were a few times I asked her to film with me, but she didn’t want to,” Kyle continued. “I miss my sister Kim being on the show. It feels weird to do the show without my sister, honestly. I’m a creature of habit! I don’t like change.”
Kyle and Kim have been on the show every season since its premiere in 2010 — Kim as a Housewife (for five seasons) and then as a friend (for two seasons).
The original New York Housewife was not asked back for season 5, along with former castmates Alex McCord, Kelly Bensimon and Cindy Barshop. However, after Bethenny Frankel's recent exit, Zarin could be getting ready for a long-awaited comeback.
Zarin, who previously said she would be interested in returning to the series as a friend, said “nothing’s changed” in her plans.
“All I can say is they’ve started filming and I’m here,” Zarin told PEOPLE exclusively as she prepared to play in a tennis match with pro John Isner at the Brookfield Place Open in N.Y.C. in August 2019. “I’m at the tennis event today. Watch and see what happens, as Andy Cohen says.”
“I [live] in L.A.,” Manzo told Fox 411 in May 2016. “I don’t live in New Jersey anymore. I went through my divorce this year [and] I moved out to California, so it didn’t make sense.”
She added: "I thought about it for a minute, and I thought ‘How am I supposed to do this? I don’t live there.’ I have an apartment here in Manhattan but I don't live in New Jersey, so I don’t see how that could work.”