Willams dropped the bombshell on Tuesday's episode of "The Wendy Williams Show," sharing that Leakes had just told her the news moments before in a text.
“I took a break in between commercials ... my office is right there behind the set. I had to go to the bathroom and so I looked at my phone in between commercials. And NeNe texts, ‘I’m quitting,’ ” Williams told guest Jerry O’Connell. (Watch Williams make the announcement shortly after the 26:00 mark in the video above.)
A rep for Leakes, 52, told TODAY, "It's been an especially difficult couple of weeks for NeNe, and she was venting to her friend in private correspondence. Nothing has been confirmed or officially decided for next season."
Leakes also appeared to respond to Williams' announcement when she shared a photo of herself shortly afterward with the caption "WHO SAID DAT!?!?! #SMH."
During Tuesday's episode of her talk show, Williams revealed that she knew another "secret" about Leakes that would break fans' hearts.
“I know something about NeNe that you all will cry, be sad and feel bad for her,” Williams shared before becoming tearful. “She’s carrying the weight of a huge thing on her shoulders."
"I’m not going to say it, she’s got to say it," Williams continued. "But in my opinion, NeNe, you need this platform to explain the other part of your life. Forget hairpieces and arguing with them broads — you’ve got that secret, and that secret is going to melt their hearts. Because when she shared it with me, I cried with her.”
Leakes has been a cast member of "RHOA" since the show debuted in 2008. She took breaks from the series in seasons eight and nine to focus on her acting career, before returning full-time in 2017 for season 10.
During season 11, she allegedly got into physical altercations with both a producer and a cameraman for the show.
Season 12 of the series premiered in November and found Leakes still bitterly feuding with longtime rival Kenya Moore.
The same month, the mom of three opened up to People about her tough reputation.
“My pain is often misinterpreted,” Leakes shared. “I’m not one of those people who actually express how I feel a lot. I keep that inside, and a lot of (my co-stars) know that.
"But I do believe that because somebody is louder or moves more boldly, a lot of time those are the people who always get the finger pointed at them," she added. "And honestly, that’s always the case with me.