The reality star announced the news on her podcast, Heather Dubrow's World. "If you're wondering why I've decided to not come back, it wasn't an easy decision," Heather explains. "You know, it's hard to walk away from something, first of all, that's been successful for five years, and truly has given us so much. But I just feel like, right at this particular point in time, a couple of things [changed my mind]."
"First of all, my kids," she continues. "My oldest kids are now teenagers, and I just felt like they need to make their own decision about being on television and exposing their lives, and for me personally, I have some really cool, interesting opportunities that I want to explore. I don't know where they're going to go, but I want the opportunity to explore them."
Dubrow's decision comes after a particularly rough season of Orange County for her, which saw the former actress come to blows with newcomer Kelly Dodd and struggle with the strain her husband Terry Dubrow's busy career put on their marriage and family -- all while she continued to build her mutli-million dollar mansion, complete with champagne doorbell.
Likely not helping matters was the fact that even after the Season 11 reunion wrapped, many of the cast members continued fighting on social media, including Dodd accusing Dubrow of having plastic surgery in late November.
Dubrow, who came in last place in TVGuide.com's 2016 Real Housewives ranking, also released a statement to ET in which she noted "the door is always open" for her to return if she ever changes her mind.
"After a lot of careful thought and deliberation, I have decided not to return to RHOC this season," Dubrow's statement said. "These past five years have been an incredible journey and I'm so proud to have been a part of such an iconic piece of pop culture ... However, at this point in my life, I have decided to go in another direction and do what's best for my family and career."
Dubrow is reportedly the second Orange County Housewife who isn't returning. Meghan King Edmonds will also allegedly not be back. Bravo has not announced any other casting decisions for Season 12 yet, including whether Vicki Gunvalson, Tamra Judge, Shannon Beador and Kelly Dodd will return.