Andy Cohen Speaks Out On NeNe Leakes’ ‘RHOA’ Departure

NeNe Leakes really isn’t returning to The Real Housewives of Atlanta this time. On Monday, People reported that NeNe, who has been rumored to be not returning to the show for the past several seasons, won’t be returning for the show’s upcoming eighth season. NeNe, who has been with the show since the very first season, confirmed to People her decision.

“This was definitely a hard decision for me. Me and my husband [Gregg Leakes] have been going back and forth on it for weeks now. But my contract is up and I just think this is the right time. This is my opportunity to spread my wings and do different things.”

Executive producer Andy Cohen proclaimed his love for NeNe. He pointed out that NeNe is always welcome back.

NeNe responded with some love and tears emoijs.

On Instagram, Andy later told a viewer, who criticized him for letting NeNe walk away from the show because the ratings will now drop, that NeNe just wan’t into doing the show anymore.

“It’s a free country. She wasn’t into it any more! Couldn’t you tell??”

Those different things may include a return to scripted acting. Besides her Bravo reality show with Kim Zolciak, NeNe and Kim: The Road to Riches, NeNe will soon be filming another show. NeNe teased that she’s filming a series this week with “a big legend.” NeNe has previously starred in FOX’s Glee and NBC’s The New Normal.

“I’m actually going to be doing a new primetime television show with a big legend. All of my fans will get to see me be really happy, witty and funny and tell all of those one liners that I always have said on Housewives.”

While there are some things that NeNe may miss about being an Atlanta housewife, she won’t miss the drama. She said that she’s happy to no longer be the target of some of the other women.

“I feel a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. There were times when I was a target. I won’t miss the negativity.”

As for the other women on the show, NeNe said that she’s sure that some of them are happy that she’s not returning. NeNe may have been talking about Kandi Burruss, Cynthia Bailey, Kenya Moore, and Claudia Jordan, all of whom she feuded with on the last season.

“I think some of the girls will be happy. They always felt like I was the star, and they were never able to really shine with me there, so here’s their opportunity to shine.”

Claudia herself may not be returning to the show either. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Claudia recently admitted that her future with the show is up in the air.

While NeNe won’t be a starring housewife on Season 8 of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, viewers can expect to see her make some cameo appearances in the future. NeNe noted that her goodbye is not permanent.

“I’m not saying I’m gone forever. I’ll probably pop up and play with those girls every now and then.”

Andy Cohen’s tweet, in which he said that NeNe Leakes is always welcome back, seems to make clear that the show’s producers would love for NeNe to return whenever she wants.

[Photo by Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images]