After seven seasons as the star of The Real Housewives of Atlanta and almost eight years fuelled by reality TV drama, NeNe Leakes has exclusively told PEOPLE that she'll be leaving the show, as there comes a time when enough is enough.

NeNe Leakes / Credit: FAMOUS

NeNe Leakes / Credit: FAMOUS

Chatting to the news outlet, she said: "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."

The announcement comes alongside the news that Leakes is to now focus on totally new projects, while still maintaining her TV presence.

"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."

She continues: "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."

And chatting about the other ladies involved in the show, NeNe said: "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."

NeNe could be returning in the future however, as she added: "I'm not saying I'm gone forever. I'll probably pop up and play with those girls every now and then."

Bravo boss andy Cohen is certainly leaving the door open for NeNe to return at some stage, as he tweeted:

The Real Housewives of Atlanta has acted as a platform for NeNe to compete on Celebrity Apprentice, as well as star as a recurring character in Glee and play the Mistress of Sensuality in Las Vegas resident show Cirque du Soleil: Zumanity.

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