NeNe Leakes & Andy Cohen in NYC

NeNe Leakes wants it known that despite reports insisting she’s in negotiations with Bravo for a part-time return to Real Housewives Of Atlanta, that is absolutely NOT true!

Rumors have been swirling that NeNe, who left the show for a primetime gig with Betty White, quit as a hardball tactic to command a higher salary in order to come back as a ‘Friend of the Housewives’ for season 8. 

NeNe is putting an end to the speculation, saying she is “definitely” taking this season off and will not appear at all – even in a guest role. “I love Bravo – they’re my family – I may pop up and play with those girls and every now and then. I’m sure I’ll come back at some point, I just won’t come back in season 8,” she clarifies.  

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NeNe insists that leaving the show was purely to follow a great opportunity. “It’s not about the money,” she counters. “If it were about the money, I would have stayed.” 

TMZ reports that producers believed NeNe would agree to a part-time return and are now seriously worried about the upcoming season, fearing the show will flounder. In reality, their concerns are justified – these things have nothing to do with the stars themselves, but viewer’s attachment to a certain expectation to how a show functions. This especially seems to be the case with reality shows – and sometimes with a big change viewers no longer feel that connection, even if they thought they wanted something different. NeNe agrees RHOA will have a “different tone” without her, but thinks things will be fine. 

NeNe’s manager Steven Grossman tells Perez Hilton that Ms. Leakes’ quitting definitely wasn’t a PR stunt!

“[NeNe was] never negotiating with Bravo for the upcoming eighth season of RHOA,” he states. “Her departure was driven by what made the most sense in terms of her long term career objectives and everything else she wants to accomplish.”

Apparently NeNe recognized it was now or never before she lost her opportunity. “Talent frequently get too comfortable and stay somewhere longer than they should because they are paralyzed by fear,” Steven elaborates. “Show business often requires risk in order for there to be a reward. If you aren’t willing to bet on yourself then nobody else will bet on you either.”

Last season’s negativity, coupled with NeNe’s Broadway accomplishment, made her realize her storyline had reached a natural end, and was the perfect segue to strike out on her own. “Nene’s Broadway debut at the end of last season was a real full circle moment celebrating her journey. It felt like her story had been told and creatively the right way to end this chapter,” describes Steven. “This isn’t necessarily goodbye to RHOA forever – just goodbye for now.”

And Bravo is supportive of NeNe’s decision. She will be appearing in her spinoff with Kim Zolciak this fall.  

TELL US – DO YOU BELIEVE THIS IS REALLY THE END FOR NENE ON RHOA? WILL THE SHOW FLOUNDER WITHOUT HER?

[Photo Credit: TNYF/WENN.com]

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