Bethenny Frankel stunned fans on Wednesday might when she announced that she was leaving "The Real Housewives of New York" ahead of its upcoming twelfth season.
Frankel appeared on the Bravo hit's first three seasons from 2008 until 2010, left to appear in two spinoffs on the network spotlighting her pregnancy and marriage and then returned in 2015 for its seventh season.
The Skinnygirl mogul confirmed the news in a statement released exclusively to Variety, saying in part that she has "decided to leave the 'Housewives' franchise to explore my next chapter."
"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," she continued. "With the changes in modern culture, I want to highlight the strength, confidence and unstoppable power that women have."
Frankel also penned an emotional letter to Bravo viewers on her Instagram that she ended with a slightly cryptic tease for what she's planning next: "Stay tuned, you haven’t seen the last of me. There are many amazing things to come."
While many fans speculated that her private relationship with boyfriend Paul Bernon was also a major factor in her decision to exit "Real Housewives," her production deal with Burnett, the mega-producer behind long-running hits like "Survivor," "The Apprentice" and "Shark Tank," which Frankel routinely appears on, seems to be something that Frankel is particularly excited about.
It could also provide her the platform to return to TV in the near future.
One month after news broke in March about the deal, Frankel talked exclusively to AOL's Gibson Johns, where she shared "some hints" about what the partnership will entail -- including one show that's likely to be a starring vehicle for her, making her return to television after leaving "RHONY."
"Right now, we have about three shows we’re about to go out with and I would be part of at least one of them. One for sure," Frankel told AOL in April. "They all are female-centric, not just because it’s something that’s speaking to me but because it’s something that I understand. I understand women and the issues they go through: fertility, relationships, divorce, career, small businesses, passion projects."
So, while fans may be distraught over Bethenny Frankel's exit from "The Real Housewives of New York," they shouldn't worry too much: As she said herself, we haven't seen the last of her just yet.