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The Real Housewives of Orange County, TRHOOC, Heather Dubrow

Paul Drinkwater/Bravo

Heather Dubrow has officially joined the dozens of women who have ended their run in the Real Housewives club.

While the Real Housewives of Orange County star graced the small screen with the inner workings of her glamorous California life for five seasons, she confirmed Friday she is officially bowing out. 

"After a lot of careful thought and deliberation, I have decided not to return to RHOC this season. These past 5 years have been an incredible journey and I'm so proud to have been a part of such an iconic piece of pop culture," she said in a statement released on Bravo's blog, The Daily Dish

While the 48-year-old star vaguely noted she has decided to "go in another direction," we wonder what that direction might be. While the actress still has a handful of projects on her agenda, including two podcasts and a YouTube video series, not to mention raising four children in the process, some question remains on how she will fill the reality gap. 

Still, as Dubrow steps into the post-Housewives arena, fortunately, many women have gone before her, so there's plenty of experience to learn from. In fact, their stardom on reality television provided the perfect springboard for an array of new opportunities—if they played their cards right. 

Bethenny Frankel, Skinnygirl, Real Housewives Businesses

Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic

One of the most famous examples of benefiting from the franchise is Real Housewives of New York City cast member-turned alum-turned cast member again, Bethenny Frankel. After taking a bow from the show after the third season, the new mom sold her Skinnygirl cocktail brand for an undisclosed, but purported $100 million figure. "I went on the show single-handedly and exclusively for business," she told The Hollywood Reporter in 2011. 

In addition to giving her brand that extra oomph of publicity, Frankel used her stardom to launch an eponymous daytime talk show, which gave her the chance to grill Hollywood stars about their love lives for two years on Fox. 

Caroline Manzo, Manzo'd With Children, Lauren Manzo

Bravo

While Frankel since got bit by the Housewives bug and returned to the show for seasons 7 and 8, it's not uncommon for other alumni to return to TV, just not under the Housewives umbrella. 

Both Real Housewives of New Jersey's Caroline Manzo and Real Housewives of Atlanta's Kim Zolciak-Biermann currently star in spin-off series that chronicle their rollercoaster family lives. When they're not filming, Zolciak manages a skincare line and perfume while Manzo produces her own line of homemade soap

Zolciak's Atlanta co-star NeNe Leakes continued to dabble in film and television throughout her time on the show, landing a recurring role on Glee and getting cast in the Broadway productions of Cinderella and Chicago

After announcing her departure from the show in 2015 following seven seasons, Leakes launched a sold-out one-woman comedy tour through the United States and is now a regular co-host on E!'s Fashion Police.  

See, Heather, whether you're interested in soap or the big screen, the post-Housewives world is your oyster. Plus, like Dubrow said herself, the door is always open to pick up the orange again. 

(E! and Bravo are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)