Forgive us as we're off to cry in the fish room. 

Bethenny Frankel is leaving The Real Housewives of New York ahead of the 12th season, according to Variety

"I have decided to leave the Housewives franchise to explore my next chapter," she said in a statement to Variety. "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." 

A source tells E! News that Bethenny's castmates are "flabbergasted" and did not see this coming. 

"Filming just started and there was no indication of this...Everyone was under the assumption she would be filming," the source said. 

Bethenny was an original cast member when she show premiered in 2008, left during the third season, and then returned in season seven in 2015. Season 11 was a particularly tough time for Frankel, who was going through a difficult custody battle with ex-husband Jason Hoppy and was dealing with the death of her ex Dennis Shields. Season 11 also found Bethenny having a meltdown in Miami in Luann de Lesseps' face. 

She also has been doing humanitarian work in areas affected by tragedy and natural disasters, and signed a new deal with MGM in March to produce and potentially appear on her own un-scripted shows with Mark Burnett, so Bethenny clearly has a lot on her plate. 

The Real Housewives of New York will return for season 12 later this year with remaining cast members Luann de Lesseps, Dorinda Medley, Ramona Singer, Sonja Morgan, and Tinsley Mortimer. 

E! and Bravo are both part of the NBC Universal family. 

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