“That came right out of left field. I did not see that one coming at all,” the captain, 73, exclusively told Us Weekly about his departure from the Bravo franchise while promoting his partnership with Dramamine earlier this month.
The former reality star noted that the network didn’t share an exact reason for the decision. “We would like to move in a new direction,” Lee recalled being told about his offscreen exit. “But I mean, that’s kind of a cliche that everybody uses when they find themselves in that situation where they’re going to let somebody go. ‘I’m going to move in a new direction. We want to freshen it up a little.’ [They are] tired cliches that get overused.”
Viewers originally saw the Michigan native leave during season 10 to address his health issues. He was replaced by Below Deck Mediterranean‘s Captain Sandy before returning to finish out the end of the charter season. Us broke the news in February that Lee would be replaced by Below Deck Adventure‘s Captain Kerry for season 11 as new episodes film in Grenada.
Lee has since hinted that a return to Below Deck in the future isn’t off the table, telling Us, “If they found that they needed me back on the show, I’d go back. I’ve done it for 10 years and I would kind of like to — if I’m going to make an exit — do it on different terms.”
The TV personality, who appeared on the show since its 2013 debut, also reflected on what he would have done differently in his final season.
“I regret that I couldn’t do the whole season. I really do. I never quit anything in my life and for me to walk off that boat was hard. To admit that I’d been defeated — or at least knocked down — and getting [out] was not [ideal],” Lee continued. “I had to get back up and get back to the boat, which I accomplished and felt really, really good about. But having to tell the crew that I had to leave because at that point I was more of a liability than I was an asset — it’s hard to admit to yourself.”
Lee has since shifted his focus by teaming up with Dramamine to launch their Ditch the Drama Sweepstakes. The raffle gives three winners the chance to experience a dream vacation to their top destination anywhere in the world — all planned by the travel experts at Travelocity.
“Planning vacations and stuff is hard on people. First, they have to agree on where to go and when to go and how much they can afford. And then we have to pack and who is going to watch the dog,” the Bravo star explained to Us. “But Dramamine is saying, ‘We’ll take care of the drama for you. We’ll get it all out of the way.’ They’re going to give away three grand prizes, which consists of a trip anywhere in the world of your choice.”
He added: “And they’re going to take care of all the planning. Everything’s going to be set out and laid out for you. They’re going to remove all the drama out of your summer vacation plans. If you want to enter — and you can enter as many times as you want — there is no purchase necessary.”
Dramamine’s Ditch the Drama Sweepstakes is open now.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi