LuAnn de Lesseps LuAnn de Lesseps

LuAnn de Lesseps is absent from the first three episodes of Real Housewives of New York's new season, but the Countess will return to the Bravo show in a reduced role.

According to E!, de Lesseps will recur in the sixth season of the reality hit starting in Episode 4. "The show has been a part of my life for so long," de Lesseps said. "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."

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"It's a win-win for me," she continued. "I'm still on the show. I'm still very much a part of the show, but it's not a full-time thing. It's very engulfing when you're on it. It takes up all of your mental and physical energy."

When Housewives returns Tuesday, March 11 at 9/8c, the ladies will also welcome a new lady to their group: businesswoman/model Kristen Taekman, a mother of two who has her own line high-end greeting card boxes.

Watch the preview for Real Housewives' new season below.

Are you sad to see less of LuAnn?