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Luann de Lesseps Says ‘Real Housewives of New York City’ Cast Was ‘Relieved’ Over Bethenny Frankel’s Exit: Season 12 Is ‘Better Than Ever’

Talk about a mix of emotions! Luann de Lesseps wasn’t sure how to feel about Bethenny Frankel‘s decision to leave The Real Housewives of New York City, but in a new interview, reveals that the entire cast does see a silver lining.

Related: 'RHONY' Cast Reacts to Bethenny Frankel's Exit News

“I was shocked. I was, you know, surprised and not surprised in a way because I think that she is in a relationship that I don’t think she wants to bring around on the show,” de Lesseps, 54, said during Jenny McCarthy‘s Sirius XM show on Monday, October 28, seemingly referencing Frankel’s boyfriend, Paul Bernon. “She’s a lot of fun. She can be really nasty. She’s very funny. Those are the people you kind of get up for in the morning, because they challenge you. I always held my own with Bethenny. Her and I have always had this, up and down kind of relationship, and she’s not an easy person to manage. I just feel like, that part, I’ll kind of miss. It’s challenging. I found a kind of fun in it. Listen, I’ll miss her but at the same, time, when you’re around her, it’s like walking on eggshells.”

Frankel, 48, announced in August that she would not be returning to the Bravo hit for season 12 and is focusing on other projects. At the time, the singer shared a photo of her former costar on Instagram, writing, “@bethennyfrankel and I have certainly had our ups and downs, I choose to remember the ups. Wishing her nothing but the best in her next chapter.”

Related: Former 'RHONY' Stars: Where Are They Now?

That said, there was relief among the entire group of women after the news was announced.

“I think the whole cast is relieved, in a way, and it also leaves breathing room for other women to shine and show their personalities because a lot was Bethenny coming in and kind of stealing the show. But guess what, she can’t steal our show. This season is amazing and I can’t wait for everyone to see the new season,” the “Countess and Friends” host said. “It’s better than ever. Our new housewife is really great. I can’t really talk much about her except that she’s a great addition to the cast. She’s got story, she’s got back story. She’s an interesting woman, she’s smart, she’s successful. … It’s not easy. You’ve got to have balls!”

Luann de Lesseps and Bethenny Frankel Broadimage/Shutterstock; Todd Williamson/JanuaryImages/Shutterstock

Us Weekly confirmed in August that Tinsley Mortimer’s friend Leah McSweeney had joined the cast for the upcoming season. “Leah is a great addition to the show,” the insider said at the time. “She’s glamorous, fun and wild in all the right ways.”

Related: Every Real Housewife Who Has Filed for Divorce

The Real Housewives of New York City will return to Bravo in the spring.

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