Controversial Real Housewives of Dallas star leaves show to focus on real life

Real Housewives of Dallas star leaves show to focus on real life

LeeAnne Locken, Rich Emberlin, Real Housewives wedding
LeeAnne Locken with fellow RHOD castmates at her wedding to Rich Emberlin in spring 2019. Photo by Thomas Garza

Real Housewives of Dallas star LeeAnne Locken is retiring her exhausted weave. The show’s biggest and most controversial star announced she will exit the series after four seasons. 

In a statement published in People magazine late February 25, Locken said:

“The last four years have been a trolley-slapping good time but after much consideration, I have made the personal decision to step away from RHOD.

“Getting to share my wedding with the viewers last year brought me tremendous joy, however, the season was very personally challenging for me. I am looking forward to stepping away from the cameras and spending quality time with my husband and friends, traveling, but most importantly, getting back to philanthropy, which was my main reason for joining the show.

“Thank you to everyone who has laughed and cried with me along the way. It’s been an amazing journey, and yes my pantyliner is still exhausted. There are so many exciting things on my horizon that I can’t wait to share with you.”

Locken has been the show’s most talked-about star since it premiered in 2016. Her brassy personality, fights with other cast members, and no-holds-barred commentary have courted controversy on all four seasons — none more so than in season 4 when she called castmate Kary Brittingham, who was born in Mexico, a “little chirpy Mexican.” Locken got grilled on the RHOD reunion show and called a racist by fellow castmates.

Close friends in Dallas quickly came to her defense, but she was vilified on social media.

Her biting, sarcastic, and often self-deprecating comments (and hot mic moments) have become memes throughout the years. Among the classics:

But the series also chronicled joyful and tender moments in Locken’s life, including her philanthropic work with the LGBTQ community and survivors of childhood abuse. Cameras were rolling for her sweet engagement to longtime love Rich Emberlin at the State Fair. Their wedding was the highlight of season 4.

Locken shared exclusive details of their courtship and wedding with CultureMap last fall. In that interview, she expressed how emotional it was to juggle the demands of the show and everyday life. She put her foot down when producers wanted to rush the nuptials as part of the show, for example, telling them, "It’s not fair to rush this. This is an authentic wedding, this isn’t crap.”

Locken posted a note of thanks to her friends and fans on Facebook late Tuesday night, saying, “From the bottom of my heart I want [to] THANK YOU ALL for your kindness, your love & for making me laugh when I thought I couldn’t. YOU are what kept me going and YOU are who I will always be GRATEFUL for.”

Bravo has not released cast information for season 5. Of the original cast, only Stephanie Hollman and Brandi Redmond remain. The other castmates are Kameron Westcott, D’Andra Simmons, and Brittingham.