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Bethenny Frankel quitting Real Housewives
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Bethenny Frankel is leaving 'Real Housewives of New York City'.

The 48-year-old reality star has announced she will stepping down from her role in the long-running Bravo franchise ahead of its 12th season, after having been a staple character in the programme since its premiere in 2008.

In a statement to Variety, Bethenny said: "I have 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. With the changes in modern culture, I want to highlight the strength, confidence and unstoppable power that women have. 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."

Bethenny started on the show in its premiere season over a decade ago, before leaving for several years in 2010. She rejoined during the seventh season in 2015, and has stayed on screens up until her latest departure.

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The star's decision to leave the show comes as she's faced a difficult year, which has seen her mourn the death of her late ex-boyfriend Dennis Shields in August last year, and suffering a near fatal allergic reaction to fish in December, before almost coming into contact with the food on two other occasions when airlines refused to stop serving it on board their flights.

Then, in March, Bethenny revealed she had been diagnosed with leaky gut syndrome - a condition in which the gut leaks and allows potentially harmful substances like bacteria, toxins and undigested food particles to enter the bloodstream.

She wrote on social media: "Just when you thought it couldn't get sexier, I was diagnosed today with 'leaky gut syndrome' and a wheat allergy. Could there be a more vile title? That I wouldn't have put on my dating profile. (sic)"

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This article originally ran on celebretainment.com.

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