The season 4 standout has been praised by critics and fans alike for making the Bravo series' fourth season "unmissable" television
Despite a breakout debut on season 4 of the Bravo series, the sassy standout, 40, will not be joining costars Heather Gay, Meredith Marks, Lisa Barlow, Whitney Rose and Angie Katsanevas when cameras pick back up next month, according to insiders.
PEOPLE reached out to Garcia for comment and to Bravo, which typically does not comment on casting.
Garcia, a mother of four and the first Latina to join the cast, has been widely praised by critics and fans alike for breathing new life into RHOSLC. Bravo superfan Jennifer Lawrence noted at the Golden Globes Awards earlier this month that the women gave Oscar-worthy performances. And just on Tuesday, The Los Angeles Times published a story praising Garcia for turning the reality series into "unhinged, unmissable TV."
News of Garcia's exit comes hours before the airing of the third and final part of the RHOSLC reunion, in which she is expected to confront the revelation that she is behind RealityVonTease, an Instagram troll account that's had a history of posting negative things about the RHOSLC stars.
Garcia owned up to posting on the account when Gay exposed her during the dramatic season 4 finale in Bermuda but claimed that she was only one of multiple people who ran the Finsta. One of the others, according to Garcia, was Gay's hairdresser Tenesha — an allegation Tenesha has appeared to confirm online by posting multiple screengrabs from private messages sent from the account.
Additionally, Garcia has also insisted she only participated in RealityVonTease to expose former friend and RHOSLC alum Jen Shah, who is currently serving a five-year prison sentence for her role in a long-running telemarketing scheme. "I didn’t say s--- about anyone else other than Jen and I will own that to the grave," she shouted at the women, adding she didn't see RealityVonTease as a "bad thing" and was "just telling the truth."
Still, the sting of Garcia's lies was hard for Gay, 49, to overcome. She called out Garcia for being a "cyberbully internet troll" and confirmed she had a collection of "receipts, proof, timeline [and] screenshots" to prove her claims. (The phrase become an instant meme among fans, and was even quoted by U.S. Rep. Robert Garcia during a House Oversight Committee hearing this month).
Gay's costars agreed with her outrage. "You f---ing deceived all of us," Barlow, 49, shouted, while Marks, 52, yelled, "You've sat here with us for three months and not told us the truth."
In the previous two installments of the reunion, Garcia has been on the defense while questions about her past have surfaced. Her costars have essentially written her off as a fan who infiltrated "their friend group" (i.e. the show) and pretend to be their ally while secretly talking about them behind their backs.
That very behavior — and Garcia's overall unapologetic messiness — is precisely what viewers have embraced about the RHOSLC newcomer. But it's also what ultimately put her fate on the show in jeopardy.
Those discussions — according to producers Noah Samton (Senior VP of Production at NBCUniversal Television and Streaming) and Lisa Shannon (Senior VP Programming and Development at Shed Media) — were ongoing as of Jan. 19.
"[We've] had about 7,000 conversations about that subject. We probably have another few hundred ahead of us still," Samton told The Hollywood Reporter on Jan. 19, noting that showrunner Lori Gordon was involved in the conversation as well.
"[Monica's] a great cast member. She’s open and vulnerable and she represents a different kind of person in Salt Lake than we have on the show. She comes from a different background and there’s a lot about her that the audience can relate to in a way that’s different from the other women. But at the same time, there’s the deception, there’s the relationship with the other cast members. It’s a really complicated puzzle," he continued. "From a rating standpoint, you would want to find a way for her to come back. But it’s really challenging in this situation. We’re just trying to figure it out."
Shannon added, "It’s a situation we’ve never been in before. ... This is a different beast than I think any of us have dealt with. So we’re kind of moving our way through it."
At least one person has been definitive about Garcia, though — Gay.
The RHOSLC OG — who is also suing Garcia over an alleged missed payment at her Beauty Lab + Laser med spa and defending herself from Garcia's countersuit claims that the procedure was “botched and negligently performed" — has long been insistent that she will not step in front of a camera with Garcia again.
"I don’t think I ever will, ever," she told Variety in November. "It’s pretty definitive for myself. I can’t speak for my other cast members but for me, it’s pretty clear."
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The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City reunion concludes on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on Bravo. All episodes are streaming on Peacock.
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