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Sanya Richards-Ross Calls ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ Exit a ‘Blessing’: It Was the ‘Perfect Time’ (Exclusive)

It might not have been Sanya Richards-Ross’ idea to exit The Real Housewives of Atlanta, but she’s made peace with the decision.

“I honestly think God knows best because I don’t think I could have done everything that I’ve done in the last few months while filming the show,” Richards-Ross, 39, exclusively told Us Weekly on Tuesday, April 16, while discussing her partnership with SHEIN. “I was like, ‘Oh, it’s no problem. I’ll have the baby and it’ll be fine. And people get to see that because obviously when we started, we weren’t sure we were going to have it. I was excited about that possibility.”

She continued, “And then when it wasn’t happening, I was like, this is a blessing because it’s been a lot and I really needed to be present. I needed to be present for my family and for my husband and for my eldest son.”

Richards-Ross was a RHOA cast member for seasons 14 and 15, the latter of which premiered in May 2023. Housewives executive producer Andy Cohen announced on his SiriusXM radio show last month that Richards-Ross, who recently welcomed baby No. 2, would not be returning for season 16.

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“Inevitably, the show really pulls you away. You have to be there and be committed. And so I think it was the perfect timing,” Richards-Ross told Us. “I always knew when I started Housewives that it would probably be for a short time because I do so many things and I say yes to life, and it was a wonderful opportunity. I really enjoyed it.”

Richards-Ross, however, wasn’t surprised that Bravo opted not to renew her contract.

“I feel like, even before I joined the cast, the reason I joined the cast was for the same thing: They’re trying to find the right group of women,” she said on Tuesday. “And so after my last season, we had been on break for a while. And so for me, I had already started moving on mentally. There are other things that I wanted to do.”

Sanya Richards-Ross Calls ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ Exit a ‘Blessing’: It Was the ‘Perfect Time’
Sanya Richards-Ross. AB+DM/Bravo

The Olympian did enjoy “interacting with the women” and “meeting people” during her RHOA stint, telling Us that she still counts the women as her “tribe” and “they all” reached out after she gave birth in December 2023. (Richards-Ross shares sons Deuce, 6, and Asani, 4 months, with husband Aaron Ross.)

“Marlo [Hampton] is the one I talk to every day, but Drew [Sidora] reached out [and] Kandi [Burruss], of course, reached out,” Richards-Ross told Us. “I’ve spoken to Kenya [Moore] a couple of times. For the most part, it’s been really positive.”

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While the RHOA ladies have remained friendly with Richards-Ross following her show departure, she asserted it was the right moment to leave the Bravo franchise.

“I think it was the perfect time for me to move on and start doing other things,” the Bravolebrity explained. “And I’m really excited about this next chapter, definitely, and all the great things that I’m working on.”

While Richards-Ross was ready to hand in her peach, she was caught off-guard that Burress, 47, also decided to walk away.

“I was super surprised because I do feel like she’s a staple on the show, but I’m also happy for her,” Richards-Ross told Us. “If you can be that honest with yourself and say, ‘Hey, why am I doing this? Maybe I should try something else.’ I gave her a lot of credit because it’s a difficult show to be on for so many years. There’s a lot that comes at you from just everywhere. I think it is probably going to be a really good decision for her to just take a break from it, to just be with her family and to continue to grow as a businesswoman. I just wish her the best.”

Sanya Richards-Ross Calls ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ Exit a ‘Blessing’: It Was the ‘Perfect Time’
Derek White/Bravo

Richards-Ross also wishes the best for the returning RHOA ladies.

“I actually really do love all the women that I was on the show with,” she noted. “I wish them all great things, and I hope that this next season is fantastic. I’ll be tuning in and supporting.”

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In addition to watching RHOA season 16, Richards-Ross teamed up with SHEIN for a new collaboration.

“It just felt like such a perfect opportunity. They were honoring women for Women’s History Month and then to be able to do it with my mom and sister who are absolute icons in my mind,” Richards-Ross gushed. “You know, my mom has just meant so much to me and to my career and my sister [is] the same. It was just really special for us because we do life together [and] it’s fun when we can do really fun things like this and we actually went through the collections together.”

She added, “We picked pieces that I felt would work for all three of us because I feel like all of us like different things [and] our bodies are different, so we thought it would even be more appealing to a larger audience of women.”

With reporting by Christina Garibaldi 

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