Bethenny Frankel

Bethenny Frankel is leaving The Real Housewives of New York City after three seasons, US reports.

"Last season was scary and painful," she told US about why she turned down Bravo's offers to return for Season 4. "It took all of the joy out of it."

Her departure should come as no surprise to fans of the series. After two seasons of minor disagreements with her castmates, particularly the DVR-ready "I'm up here and you're down here" argument with Kelly Killoren Bensimon, things went from bad to worse this past year.

Bravo's Bethenny: "You'd have to drag me" back to Real Housewives

Although Season 3 captured personal joys such as Frankel's engagement and first pregnancy, it also saw her close friendship with castmate Jill Zarin come to an ugly end in a heavily covered storyline. (Then there was also that whole scary island incident with Bensimon.)

After the end of Season 3, the 39-year-old Frankel made it no secret that she had serious hesitations about returning. The success of her Bravo spin-off, Bethenny Getting Married?, only made her future as a Real Housewife more uncertain. The series became the most-watched series debut in the cable channel's history. The series has not yet been renewed for Season 2.

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I don't "see any reason to go back," The New York Times best-selling author and chef told US. "My gut's saying not to be part of this cast."

Even if she does not return full time, Frankel may be obligated to make a certain number of appearances on Season 4, according to US. Castmates Ramona Singer and Alex McCord both made multiple cameos on Frankel's spin-off.

Bravo declined to comment.

No word yet on whether the rest of the NYC cast plans to return for Season 4. The new season begins shooting Sept. 20, according to US.

Do you think Frankel should sign on for more Real Housewives?