Advertisement

Marlo Hampton Departs “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” Ahead of Season 16: 'A Fresh Start' (Exclusive)

The reality star tells PEOPLE she's ready to "participate in new creative entertainment projects focused on my future, and not reliving my past"

<p>Paras Griffin/Getty</p> Marlo Hampton attends BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards at FLOURISH Atlanta on March 30, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia

Paras Griffin/Getty

Marlo Hampton attends BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards at FLOURISH Atlanta on March 30, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia

Marlo Hampton no longer has her peach.

The Real Housewives of Atlanta star won't be returning to the Bravo franchise for season 16, she tells PEOPLE exclusively.

"My contract with Real Housewives of Atlanta ended when season 15 wrapped," says Hampton. "This break from RHOA is a fresh start, allowing me the space to participate in new creative entertainment projects focused on my future, and not reliving my past."

She adds: "My nephews are transitioning into pivotal stages of their academic adolescence, and I am focused on my representation in their eyes and getting back to showing my multifaceted lifestyle of philanthropy, fashion, and fabulosity! I am thankful for this amazing platform of Housewives, which has allowed me to bring awareness to foster care, my non-profit Glam It Up, Inc., and showcase my fashion showroom, Le'Archive."

"I look forward to my continued relationship with Bravo and NBC Universal," Hampton concludes.

<p>AB+DM/Bravo via Getty</p> Drew Sidora, Marlo Hampton, Shereé Whitfield, Kandi Burruss, Kenya Moore and Sanya Richards Ross

AB+DM/Bravo via Getty

Drew Sidora, Marlo Hampton, Shereé Whitfield, Kandi Burruss, Kenya Moore and Sanya Richards Ross

Related: Porsha Williams Files for Divorce from Simon Guobadia After 15 Months of Marriage (Exclusive)

Hampton's an exit that comes only two years after she was made a full-time Housewife. She first appeared on the franchise back in season 4 as a Friend of former cast member NeNe Leakes. The Le' Archive style maven returned in season 6, 8 and 9 as a guest, and was a Friend again in 10, 11, 12 and 13.

Along the way, Hampton and her shady reads proved to be a fan favorite, leading to a social media campaign demanding she be promoted — something Bravo delivered on in season 14 and 15.

"It's still surreal to me," Hampton told PEOPLE back in April 2022, adding that she wouldn't feel like the role was "really real" until she watched herself on the show. "I have this peach ... I'm just excited."

Bravo Shereé Whitfield, Drew Sidora, Kenya Moore, Marlo Hampton, Kandi Burruss and Sanya Richards Ross on 'Real Housewives of Atlanta' season 14
Bravo Shereé Whitfield, Drew Sidora, Kenya Moore, Marlo Hampton, Kandi Burruss and Sanya Richards Ross on 'Real Housewives of Atlanta' season 14

Related: 'RHOA' Star Marlo Hampton Tearfully Recalls Foster Care Past After Fleeing Home at Age 10

But lower ratings and conflicting cast dynamics have pushed the network to make big changes to RHOA. The series paused production for months and reworked the Housewives, with Andy Cohen explaining at BravoCon 2023 in November that Real Housewives of New York City-style reboot wouldn't be coming, but that the show would be using certain stars as as anchors.

"I always love building with what we have," he said at the time. "I think Atlanta has some really strong building blocks that are already there and we have a growth opportunity for Atlanta."

Those building blocks have started to become clear this month with the news that Kandi Burruss would be departing the show after 14 years and Porsha Williams would be returning after a two-season absence.

The fates of the other stars — including Kenya Moore, Drew Sidora, Shereé Whitfield and Sanya Richards-Ross — remain unknown. PEOPLE has reached out to Bravo for comment.

Related: Drew Sidora Skips BravoCon 2023 amid Divorce and Ongoing Rumors of a Possible Series Reboot

<p>Jocelyn Prescod/Bravo</p> Kandi Burruss, Kenya Moore, Drew Sidors, Andy Cohen, Shereé Whitfield, Marlo Hampton and Sanya Richards Ross at the 'Real Housewives of Atlanta' season 15 reunion

Jocelyn Prescod/Bravo

Kandi Burruss, Kenya Moore, Drew Sidors, Andy Cohen, Shereé Whitfield, Marlo Hampton and Sanya Richards Ross at the 'Real Housewives of Atlanta' season 15 reunion

RHOA premiered on Bravo in October 2008. Developed as the third installment into the franchise, it quickly became the most popular and for years dominated in the ratings.

Earlier this month, Cohen, 55, opened up about the future of the franchise while discussing Williams Guobadia's return on his Radio Andy SiriusXM channel.

"We've got wonderful casting," he said. "We've got some amazing new gals, and this is gonna feel, I'm feeling very positive about the new season of Atlanta, so just standby and you will hear more."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Previous episodes of The Real Housewives of Atlanta can be streamed on Peacock.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.