There's one certainty in the world of "The Real Housewives" — even your favorites don't stay forever! With an exodus of many of the OG stars, Wonderwall.com is rounding up some of the most dramatic exits in "Housewives" history. Like "The Real Housewives of Dallas," which lost one of its main pot-stirrers in 2020 when LeeAnne Locken announced her sudden departure from the franchise. The star appeared on the previous four seasons, but told People magazine she wouldn't come back for Season 5. The news wasn't shocking — she had a particularly rough season that included her drama-filled wedding and accusations of racism after repeatedly referring to co-star Kary Brittingham's Mexican ethnicity. Many fans were horrified by her actions on the series, and she didn't explicitly touch on the scandal in her departure announcement, with many fans assuming she was fired and not actually leaving the show voluntarily. Keep reading for more scandalous departures!
The OG of the OC didn't leave her franchise on the best terms. Vicki Gunvalson was the last remaining of the original "The Real Housewives of Orange County" cast — the first series in the franchise — up until the end of Season 13. It was then that she was demoted to friend for Season 14, and in 2020 she announced she wouldn't be returning to the show in the future. "I will always be the OG of the OC, but it's time to say goodbye to 'The Real Housewives of Orange County,'" she announced on her Instagram in January, noting that she would be launching a podcast called "Whoop it up with Vicki" in the future. Despite the upbeat message, the star didn't exactly leave on great terms. She'd filed a lawsuit against the network and co-star Kelly Dodd for defamatory comments. In the suit, she claimed, if aired, comments made by Kelly on the show would negatively impact her business and reputation. She eventually withdrew the lawsuit, but it was a topic of conversation on her last ever Bravo appearance — the Season 14 reunion.
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Perhaps one of the most dramatic exits of all time took place in 2017, when "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Phaedra Parks was fired after a serious scandal. Phaedra, who joined the cast beginning in Season 3, got in hot water during Season 6 after finally confessing that she spread some horrible false rumors about Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker trying to date rape cast member Porsha Williams. In the wake of that disturbing news, Andy Cohen told E! News, "… when the reunion ended, none of the other women wanted to have anything to do with her." In light of that, she was fired from the series.
Perhaps the most dramatic "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" departure hit us last year, when OG cast member Lisa Vanderpump abruptly stopped filming and left the show. The star, who had been on every season since its inception, made Season 9 her last after a scandal about selling stories to tabloids saw her reach her breaking point. She told DailyMailTV in June 2019, "I think they've made it pretty impossible for me to go back frankly." Onscreen viewers saw her battling against all of the other women, including longtime best friend Kyle Richards, and instead of fueling more drama she opted to excuse herself from it all — ultimately deciding not to show up to that season's reunion.
After viciously butting heads with former friend Bethenny Frankel during Season 10 of "The Real Housewives of New York City," Carole Radziwill decided she'd be leaving the series permanently. Carole originally joined the franchise during Season 5, and when Bethenny returned for Season 7 they seemed to be fast friends. The two ultimately had a rift over Bethenny enlisting Carole's then-boyfriend Adam to help with a charity trip, which led to some serious bad blood and sounding off on Bravo blogs before going head-to-head on the Season 10 reunion. Shortly after that, Carole announced she'd be leaving the show and that she would be "thrilled to leave frenemies behind." Ouch!
Adrienne Maloof was an original cast member of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," so when she was a no-show at the Season 3 reunion it was a surprise. Though Adrienne maintained she left the show willingly, insiders told People at the time that she was fired from the show. The split from the show also came just a few months after finalizing her divorce from husband Dr. Paul Nassif, as their relationship deteriorated in front of the cameras. She'd also spent her last episodes on the show involved in a legal battle with Brandi Glanville, who she claimed revealed Adrienne had used a surrogate to have her twins publicly. Despite the dramatic exit, Adrienne wasn't completely done with the series. She popped up on Seasons 5 and 6, 8 and 10 as a guest star.
Some housewives just can't take the heat! This was the case for Lydia McLaughlin who signed on and survived one season — not once, but twice! "The Real Housewives of Orange County" star first appeared on Season 8, before departing directly after, and then returned for Season 12. In 2018 after wrapping Season 12, Lydia announced she would be leaving again via her blog. In her post she wrote, "RHOC has given me a great platform and I'm grateful for that. However, I feel like I can only handle this show one season at a time. I need a break! There is a lot of good that comes from the show, but also a lot of negativity." Over her time on the Bravo series, Lydia's religion resulted in her feeling ostracized at events like Drag Bingo and she infamously feuded with co-stars Shannon Beador and Tamra Judge.
Though most housewives make epic announcements that they won't be returning to their franchise, "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Kenya Moore opted to leave quietly after Season 10. It didn't make things any less dramatic, as it came on the heels of her recent wedding to Marc Daly and the news at the reunion that she was expecting their first child. But when Season 11 started, neither Bravo or Kenya made a public comment. People magazine reported the reason was due to contract negotiations stalling, and ultimately fans of that franchise didn't have to wait long to see Kenya on their small screens again. She was a guest on Season 11 and then returned as a main cast member for the show's most recent season, Season 12.
Brandi Glanville was a spunky addition to "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" cast during Season 2, when she first appeared as a friend on the franchise. But by Season 3 she was a main cast member — until Season 5 ended. At that point, E! News reported that Brandi was not asked back due to her battles with all the other housewives. For her part, Brandi opened up to Howard Stern on his show and insisted she wasn't fired, but opted to leave on her own after receiving a rough editing job. "I took so much heat. I was doing things to my own detriment that I couldn't explain like throwing wine in someone's face. I'm not sure why. And then I slapped Vanderpump, I'm not really sure why. But at the end of the day I got so much hate on social media," she told Howard, of her two most infamous tiffs toward the end of her run. Despite the rocky exit, she still returned as a guest for seasons 6 and 9, and will be back as a guest on the latest season.
Meghan King Edmonds was pregnant with twins when she decided to leave "The Real Housewives of Orange County" after three seasons. The reality star made her announcement in 2018, after finishing up on Season 12 of the west coast franchise. She claimed the show took a "physical toll" on her, after she went through IVF treatments in Season 11 and welcomed daughter Aspen in Season 12, noting "filming is grueling" and explaining she didn't want to go through it again while pregnant with her twin boys. During her stint on the show, Meghan always ended up in the mix of the drama — being a prominent figure in the Season 7 scandal of Vicki Gunvalson's boyfriend Brooks Ayers fake cancer storyline. She returned as a guest on Season 14.
Bethenny Frankel isn't new to leaving "The Real Housewives of New York City" — she left after being an OG on Seasons 1-3, only to return for Season 7 and stick around for five more seasons. But her announcement after wrapping Season 11 resulted in many heartbroken fans. The reality star-turned-mogul gave a statement to People magazine in August 2019 announcing that she was done with the show, writing, "It's time to move on and focus on my daughter, my philanthropy and my production partnership with Mark Burnett." In the wake of the news that the fan favorite would be leaving, it appeared she neglected to let her co-stars know in advance. Ramona Singer reached out to People shortly after, noting, "I'm only disappointed that Bethenny did not inform her costars that she's not coming back to the show." She also noted that the previous time Bethenny left she didn't give the other housewives a heads up, but concluded: "The show's a machine and it will continue on. We're all just a cog in the wheel. No one is irreplaceable." Yikes!
Yolanda Hadid was a beloved housewife during her tenure on "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" on seasons 3 through 6. So news that the star was leaving hit fans hard, and the reason ended up being pretty surprising. "Entertainment Tonight" reported that Yolanda decided to leave after being demoted from the main cast, which made sense considering the way she addressed the split on Instagram, which included writing: "sometimes we don't get to control the ending of the chapters in our life." To add insult to injury, the star had a particularly rough Season 6. Viewers watched Yolanda battle Lyme disease — and deal with scrutiny and Munchhausen accusations from her cast mates — and also saw the end of her marriage to then-husband David Foster.
Kim Zolciak-Biermann was an original cast member on "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" who stuck around for five seasons before dramatically leaving in 2012 (fans will never forget the way she walked out and shoved a camera out of her way during that Season 5 episode!). She eventually returned as a guest during Season 9, then got bumped back up to friend of the cast in Season 10 before disappearing once more after a drama-filled final reunion appearance. During that reunion, Kim was accused of racism by her fellow housewives and it was clear the relationships with her cast mates were likely beyond repair. Like a lot of fellow housewives, after that point it was unclear exactly who ended things between Kim and Bravo. Though she claimed it causes "too much stress" and that she quit, Radar Online reported that she'd actually been fired.
Jill Zarin was fired from "The Real Housewives of New York City" back in 2011 after Season 4, after she reportedly wrote a letter to her cast mates claiming she wanted to leave the show on a high note. At the time she was embroiled in a feud with Bethenny Frankel, and Jill later claimed it felt like the network sided with her frenemy at the time and let her go. Though she popped back up during Season 9 for Luann de Lesseps' wedding, was featured in Season 10 for the funeral of her husband Bobby Zarin, and served as support for Luann's recovery during Season 11, she's never returned as a main cast member since then.
"The Real Housewives of Orange County" was a self-proclaimed "wild ride" for Tamra Judge. She joined the cast in Season 3, and fans followed her every move for 12 seasons — from a messy divorce from husband Simon Barney, to finding love again with the younger Eddie Judge — and she was a polarizing housewife throughout her time on the show. But in 2020 it was revealed that she, and her off-and-on BFF Vicki Gunvalson, would not be returning for Season 15. But in the wake of her news, Tamra hopped on an Instagram Live with Bravo head honcho Andy Cohen and admitted she was actually fired and didn't voluntarily leave. "I'm not cheap Andy, and that's why I got fired," she shared, a very surprising announcement considering most housewives are reluctant to admit who ended things.
Though Danielle Staub hasn't been a main cast member for quite some time — she appeared on Seasons 1 and 2 — she's been a friend of the franchise since Season 8 until the most recent season. Her infamous antics kept her featured on the show, but in January 2020 as the 10th season came to a close, she made the bold announcement that she would "never be returning" while speaking to Andy Cohen on "Watch What Happens Live." Though fans will likely miss her drama — most recently she got into a hair-pulling altercation with housewife Margaret Josephs — it looks like she won't even be a guest or friend of when the cast reunites for Season 11 in the future.