Since its inception, the Real Housewives franchise has been notorious for its cast shakeups. So far, nearly every cast has seen changes due to stars getting fired, quitting for another career, or being demoted to a “friend” of the show. In some cases (take Marlo Hampton from The Real Housewives of Atlanta), a “friend” becomes a full-time Housewife at the request of fans.
RHOA helped launch the shakeup tradition during its earlier seasons. After only two years on the show, one of its original cast members, Lisa Wu, handed in her peach. Following her exit, viewers might be wondering what happened to Lisa and why she left RHOA.
Here’s what happened to ‘RHOA’ star Lisa Wu after her exit.
RHOA fans first met Lisa on the show's 2008 pilot episode, “Welcome One, Welcome ATL.” The former background dancer flaunted her massive Atlanta mansion when she appeared on the show. Lisa also showed off her family, including her husband, former Atlanta Falcons player Edgerton “Ed” Hartwell. Before joining RHOA, the couple married in 2006 and had a child together: Edgerton Jeremiah, or “EJ,” in 2007. Lisa and her first husband, singer Keith Sweat, also have two sons: Justin and Jordan.
Although she often seemed like the most level-headed RHOA cast member, Lisa never shied away from speaking her mind and defending herself against her castmates. During the Season 1 reunion, fans witnessed Lisa almost get physical with Kim Zolciak after Kim allegedly bad-mouthed Lisa’s children off-camera, per Essence. She also became close friends with NeNe Leakes, who had beef with Kim and Sheree Whitfield.
Lisa left RHOA in 2009 as a full-time cast member. In 2011, her personal life shifted when she filed for divorce from Ed after five years of marriage. Professionally, the Los Angeles native focused on her acting career and has appeared in movies and TV shows such as Rift, Saints and Sinners, and Professor Mack. In 2014, Lisa joined the cast of Hollywood Divas, a show that Kandi Burruss’s husband, Todd Tucker, produced.
Why did Lisa Wu leave ‘RHOA’ after Season 2?
Ultimately, Lisa’s pre-Housewives career affected her choice to leave RHOA. Before the show, she had found her niche in producing and acting. she's even written and produced a stage play called A Change Is Gon' Come, directed by Tyler Perry. Lisa explained to The Jasmine Brand why it was important for her to stay in her creative lane and step back from unscripted television.
“It was just a difference of creativity,” Lisa said of her decision to leave RHOA. “And you know, my thing is because I write movies, I produce, I don’t feel the need to perform, and if you’re telling me what I should be doing and what my storyline should be, then, it sounds scripted to me. If it’s scripted, let me do ... scripted. If it’s reality, let it be reality.”
Throughout the years, Lisa has continued sharing her criticisms of Bravo and the Real Houswives franchise. In October 2020, she seemingly shaded the network after they declared The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Crystal Kung Minkoff the “first Asian American housewife.” Lisa, who identifies as half-Asian and half-Black, shared a Season 1 photo of herself with the cast and said she’s “pretty sure I’m the first.”
Although Bravo never responded to her post publicly, the actress has made several cameo appearances since leaving RHOA. In Season 10, Lisa, NeNe, Sheree, and Kim shared a mini-OG reunion at NeNe’s all-white party.
The Real Housewives of Atlanta airs Sundays at 8 p.m. EST on Bravo.