Real Housewives of Orange County is now down three castmembers.
"It's bittersweet," McLaughlin, 32, tells the magazine. "I compare it to breaking up with a boyfriend you know you're not going to end up with — it's hard, but overall you know you're doing the right thing."
The married mother of two says there is "no epic story" behind her exit, but instead insists she always knew she wouldn't last long on the reality series. "I never wanted to make a career out of being a housewife. That's never really been a dream of mine," McLaughlin says. "I want to build my brand outside of the Housewives -- I've always been really honest with the producers about that. I knew that while I was filming it that I probably wasn't going to be doing it again."
Although her time on the series was short, the carefree McLaughlin says she has no regrets. "I got to be kind of a different voice -- I think that my fans love the love and positivity that I brought." However, she doesn't plan to watch the series when it returns for Season 9. "I feel like because I did have such a great experience with it, I would be sad to watch it," she says. "It'd be like seeing your ex-boyfriend with a new girl! I'm really grateful for the opportunity!"
Those returning for Season 9 of Real Housewives of Orange County include Vicki Gunvalson, Tamra Barney and Heather Dubrow. This is one of the biggest overhauls the Real Housewives franchise has undergone in one season since Real Housewives of New York City fired four castmembers and added three new ones in 2011.
Are you sad Lydia won't be returning?