Jan. 8 (UPI) -- LuAnn de Lesseps, best known as the "Real Housewife" who repeatedly referred to herself as "The Countess," didn't sign her contract with Bravo until the network starting filming the sixth season of Real Housewives of New York. That means that she won't appear in the first three episodes of the hit reality show and won't return as a regular member of the cast.
"The show has been a part of my life for so long," she said. "There's a special place in my heart for the show, for the women, I'm really close to the women on the show. I just made the decision to step back so I can spend more time doing my things with business and my family."
"It's a win-win for me," she added. "I'm still on the show. I'm still very much a part of the show, but it's not a full-time thing. It's very engulfing when you're on it. It takes up all of your mental and physical energy."
With de Lesseps in a recurring role, Bravo has hired former model and businesswoman Kristen Taekman to replace her.
“I never in a million years thought about [doing this show],” Taekman told The New York Post. “I’ve been in the mommy world for so long, which is why this show is so exciting to me."