Lydia McLaughlin Leaves 'The Real Housewives of Orange County'

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After one season in the nuthouse, Real Housewives of Orange County's Lydia McLaughlin graciously declined production's invite back.

McLaughlin told Us Weekly that there was no "epic feud" that led to her decision.  Instead, she likened it to ending a relationship that isn't going anywhere.

"It's hard, but overall you know you're doing the right thing," she said.

"I never wanted to make a career out of being a housewife.  That's never really been a dream of mine."

McLaughlin, who co-owns Beverly Hills Lifestyle magazine with her husband, Doug, has bigger plans.

"I want to build my brand outside of the Housewives -- I've always been really honest with the producers about that," she said.  "I knew that while I was filming it that I probably wasn't going to be doing it again."

Along with McLaughlin, Gretchen Rossi and Alexis Bellino will be absent from season eight, though they were reportedly fired.

"I definitely don't have any regrets," McLaughlin added. "I got to be kind of a different voice -- I think that my fans love the love and positivity that I brought."

Heather Dubrow, Vicki Gunvalson and Tamra Barney are the only remaining cast members on the original franchise.

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