By: Amanda Anderson-Niles
For weeks now it’s been rumored Kenya Moore, NeNe Leakes and Kandi Burruss were the most likely to return for season eight of “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” but now NeNe tells PEOPLE Magazine that she is done with the hit reality show because she feels her career is at a point where she no longer needs the check.
“This was definitely a hard decision for me,” Leakes tells PEOPLE. “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 with the news that Leakes will soon be focusing on totally new projects.
“I’m actually going to be doing a new primetime television show with a big legend,” Leakes teases of the series she begins filming this week. “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.”
It’s a positive new direction that the mother of two is more than happy to take.
“I feel a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders,” says Leakes, who throughout the years was the center of many arguments and altercations on the show.
NeNe also claims this doesn’t mean she won’t return at some point, but as for season eight, she won’t be holding a peach and would rather commit to her other projects (including her spinoff with Kim Zolciak).