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Candiace Dillard Bassett Exits “Real Housewives of Potomac” After 6 Seasons: ‘I Am Filled with Gratitude’ (Exclusive)

"This is not a farewell, but a ‘see you later,' " the "Drive Back" singer tells PEOPLE

<p>Charles Sykes/Bravo via Getty </p> Candiace Dillard Bassett on

Charles Sykes/Bravo via Getty

Candiace Dillard Bassett on 'Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen'

Candiace Dillard Bassett is saying goodbye to The Real Housewives of Potomac

The singer, who joined the series in season 3, tells PEOPLE exclusively that she won’t be returning to the reality series for its upcoming ninth season.

“As I embark on a new chapter after six remarkable years with The Real Housewives of Potomac, I am filled with gratitude for the enriching friendships, personal growth and moments of introspection that have defined this journey,” Dillard Bassett, 37, says.” With a whirlwind of new opportunities and responsibilities on my plate, I have decided to take a break from RHOP.”

She goes on to tease that her exit might only be temporary, noting, “This is not a farewell, but a ‘see you later.’ “

The “Drive Back” songstress ends her note with a message of thanks to her fans. “Your unwavering support has been my guiding light, and I look forward to the exciting adventures that lie ahead — and more importantly, sharing them all with you!” she says. 

<p>Charles Sykes/Bravo via Getty </p> Candiace Dillard Bassett on 'Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen'

Charles Sykes/Bravo via Getty

Candiace Dillard Bassett on 'Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen'

Dillard Basset’s departure comes after a fractured season of RHOP that saw her at odds with O.G. cast members (and former friends) Gizelle Bryant and Robyn Dixon.

It remains unclear whether any were able to mend fences at the reunion. The trailer, which PEOPLE premiered Friday, shows Dillard Bassett doubling down her feelings towards the two, calling Dixon a “loser” and standing by insults she had thrown towards Bryant throughout the year.

<p>Jai Lennard/Bravo</p> 'Real Housewives of Potomac' Season 8 Cast: Wendy Osefo (left), Mia Thornton, Candiace Dillard Bassett, Karen Huger, Gizelle Bryant, Ashley Darby, Robyn Dixon and Nneka Ihim

Jai Lennard/Bravo

'Real Housewives of Potomac' Season 8 Cast: Wendy Osefo (left), Mia Thornton, Candiace Dillard Bassett, Karen Huger, Gizelle Bryant, Ashley Darby, Robyn Dixon and Nneka Ihim

Related: The Real Housewives of Potomac Cast Tries to Repair Divide in Tense Season 8 Reunion Trailer (Exclusive)

Executive producer and reunion host Andy Cohen had said that reconciliation was something he was hoping for. "The flaw of this season is that there are women who aren't able to find any common ground with some of the other women, so there are all these pockets of women that just won't even acknowledge each other — which is not a recipe for, you know, [good TV]," he noted on his radio show, SiriusXM’s Andy Cohen Live, earlier this month. "One of the hallmarks of the Housewives is finding a way to move forward. And so, that was kind of the directive of the Potomac reunion."

Bravo famously doesn’t comment on casting, but a source close to production confirmed to PEOPLE Dillard Bassett made the choice to leave the franchise on her own.

Shannon Finney/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty Chris Bassett (left) and Candiace Dillard Bassett on 'The Real Housewives of Potomac'
Shannon Finney/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty Chris Bassett (left) and Candiace Dillard Bassett on 'The Real Housewives of Potomac'

Since she debuted on RHOP in 2018, Dillard Bassett has given the series some of its funniest one-liners, with her quick wit and ruthless reads earning her a spot on Cohen's list of "Shade Assassins." But that mouth often got her in trouble with some of her costars, leading to dramatic clashes that sometimes left viewers polarized.

Related: Candiace Dillard Bassett 'Grateful for Common Sense' as Michael Darby's Defamation Lawsuit Is Dismissed (Exclusive)

She also is one of the few Housewives in the history of the franchise to get married on the show. Her 2018 wedding to now-husband Chris Bassett was featured in season 4.

Before RHOP, Dillard Basset made a name for herself in the pageant world, winning Miss United States in 2013. A graduate of Howard University, she served a tenure in the White House Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs under President Barack Obama, and as a staffer for President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign.

Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank /Getty Images Candiace Dillard Bassett at 'Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen'
Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank /Getty Images Candiace Dillard Bassett at 'Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen'

Dillard Bassett has extended her talents into acting over the years, with roles in films like 2020's The Christmas Lottery, Cruel Encounters, We Go Deep and Water in a Broken Glass as well as TV shows like Family Reunion, Dads Do It Too, Pivot Point, Curvy Girls Rock and BET Her Presents: The Waiting Room. She's a series regular on Hush, the hit Roku series.

Related: Candiace Dillard-Bassett Makes Her International Concert Debut: 'My Dreams Have Come True'

But music has been where Candiace has really shined. She dropped her first album, Deep Space, in 2021. It included the hit single "Drive Back," which Bravo fans dubbed the "song of the year" at the 2023 Bravos.

"This is a full-circle moment for me, and I thank you for being there from the beginning," she told the crowd while accepting the honor. "And to my man, my man, my man, who this song was written about. No matter what miserable, sad souls may try to infiltrate our marriage, I will always drive back home to you. I love you, thank you."

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In addition to RHOP, Dillard Bassett premiered on the third season of Real Housewives: Ultimate Girls Trip.

It's unclear who else will be returning to RHOP next season. In addition to Bryant and Dixon, season 8 also featured Karen Huger, Ashley Darby, Dr. Wendy Osefo, Mia Thornton and Nneka Ihim.

The Real Housewives of Potomac airs Sundays (8 p.m. ET) on Bravo. All episodes also stream on Peacock.

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Read the original article on People.