The Real Housewives of New York Shocker: Bethenny Frankel Exits Ahead of Season 12

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It's the end of an era for The Real Housewives of New York City. 

Bethenny Frankel, an original cast member on one of the most addictive reality series around, has announced her departure ahead of the show's 12th season. 

“I have decided to leave the Housewives franchise to explore my next chapter,” Frankel said in a statement to Variety.

Bethenny Frankel Poses for Variety

“It’s time to move on and focus on my daughter, my philanthropy and my production partnership with Mark Burnett, producing and starring in shows which represent a shift in the conversation for women."

"With the changes in modern culture, I want to highlight the strength, confidence and unstoppable power that women have," she continued.

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"My experience at Bravo has been an incredibly magical ride. I am so grateful to them for highlighting my entrepreneurialism and allowing me to pave the way for many women to achieve their goals."

"I am excited for my future. The best is yet to come.”

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Frankel first appeared on the series when it debuted in 2008, and opted to take a leave of absence following the third season. 

However, she returned for the seventh in 2015, and remained a cast member until the recent 11th season finale. 

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Frankel also starred in spinoffs Bethenny Ever After and Bethenny & Frederik. It's unclear whether another spinoff about Bethenny's life could be in the works, but time will tell. 

The news means that Ramona Singer and LuAnn de Lesseps are the only original cast members still part of RHONY's cast. 

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Singer shared her thoughts on Frankel's departure in a chat with People, saying that “respects the fact that Bethenny has decided to go on with other endeavors," adding:

"Bethenny found love in her life, and it’s so fantastic that she’ll be taking the time to grow that relationship away from the cameras and to explore other business opportunities."

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"I’m only disappointed that Bethenny did not inform her costars that she’s not coming back to the show,” Singer added.

“When she left in season 4, we found out through the press she was doing her spinoff, Bethenny Getting Married."

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"She was upset we never congratulated her, but we were upset she never told us! And that’s how we feel now."

"There is a camaraderie among us as a cast. Love us, hate us, not like us — we are a team. To hear this from the press and not through her is upsetting."

There have been some significant casting changes of late surrounding the franchise as a whole, with Lisa Vanderpump exiting The Real Housewives of Of Beverly Hills and Vicki Gunvalson getting demoted on The Real Housewives of Orange County. 

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What are your thoughts on this news?

Hit the comments below. 

Remember you can watch The Real Housewives of New York online right here via TV Fanatic. 

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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