LOS ANGELES (LALATE) – What happened to Countess LuAnn de Lesseps, why is the Countess LuAnn missing from Real Housewives of New York episodes, and did LuAnn leave RHONY 2014? Countess LuAnn de Lesseps has not left RHONY. But the Countess will be absent from the show’s first three episodes and will only be a “reoccurring” member going forward. LuAnn confirmed to news moments ago that the Countess has relinquished her role as one of the original full housewives of RHONY to become a “friend” of housewife for the 2014 season. She tells news that it was allegedly her decision.
The “what happened to Countess LuAnn” mystery began this week after Bravo released new promotional photos for the RHONY 2014 season. The photos feature LuAnn missing and a blonde in her place. Then reports claimed that LuAnn’s status was unchanged, and that she was only misusing from the first four episodes, blaming a delay in contract signing versus filming scheduling. But now LuAnn tells news that she opted for a downgrade in her status this season from full to friend of housewife status. LuAnn claims that the show has been too draining on her schedule and has prevented her from pursuant her acting career.
But in 2013, LALATE documented that contractual negations between the RHONY cast and Bravo were allegedly the worse in the series franchise. Reports at the time claimed that producers vowed to cancel the show outright if the women did not sign. Other reports claimed that an alleged filming scheduling lapsed, with no one on set, as contract negotiations hit a stand still.
LuAnn last season came under fire for Pirate-Gate in which she was drawn into a web of French and Italian friends, a pirate, her boyfriend, and countless countess denials. “The show has been a part of my life for so long,” LuAnn said in a news statement to E! today. “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. I’m still on the show. I’m still very much a part of the show, but it’s not a fulltime thing. It’s very engulfing when you’re on it. It takes up all of your mental and physical energy.”
As reported in 2013 on LALATE, the RHONY women allegedly including LuAnn had asked for a major pay raise even though the show’s ratings are falling season to season.