Gina Liano is hanging up her heels.
After four seasons as the poster girl of The Real Housewives of Melbourne, the 55-year-old barrister is not returning for season 5, which is set to air later this year.
Liano was initially part of the cast for the fifth season, however it appears she’s had a change of heart in the last 12 months after the COVID-19 pandemic halted production.
While Liano hasn’t officially commented on her departure, which Foxtel confirmed this morning, it is understood she wants to focus on her legal career.
Lydia Schiavello, who had been on the show since the beginning, has also left the series.
In some good news, fans will see the return of a fellow original. Jackie Gillies, who had pulled out of the reality series after season four, is now officially back on baord.
Gillies, 40, who is the wife of Silverchair drummer Ben Gillies, left the show at the end of season 4 to focus on starting a family.
Gillies updated her Instagram followers last month on where she’s at on her journey trying to fall pregnant, revealing she was undergoing IVF treatment.
Just before the pandemic last year, Foxtel announced the season 5 cast in February, which at the time included Liano, Schiavello, Janet Roach, Gamble Breaux, and newcomers Kyla Kirkpatrick, Cherry Dipietrantonio and Anjali Rao.
But there have been some changes since then. On top of the departure of Liano and Schiavello, and the re-addition of Gillies, there is a fresh face in the mix. Simone Elliott is also joining the aforementioned line-up.
Dipietrantonio is a yoga instructor originally from the UK, while Brighton-based Kirkpatrick is known as the ‘Champagne Dame’ for her successful champagne import export business, Emperor Champagne.
Rao is a multi-award winning journalist who notably spent six years hosting CNN’s weekday breakfast news, while single mother-of-two Elliott is a corporate businesswoman.
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Liano suggested to news.com.au at the press event last year, which took place just weeks before the pandemic hit, that her time was coming to an end, saying she “nearly didn’t come back this (fifth) season”.
“I got back into my own life, it was peaceful and I quite enjoyed it and I was hesitant to come back only for that reason,” Liano said at the time.
“It’s a big responsibility having a public profile, even though I swear and carry on and maybe act a bit irresponsible.
“I think there might be a time where I don’t come back just because my life will keep moving.”
Her comments came after a dust-up with season four newbie Sally Bloomfield, including disputed allegations of a racial slur. Bloomfield was reportedly let go from the show ahead of the fifth season due to the rift with Liano.
Foxtel’s executive director Brian Walsh confirmed in 2019 that production wanted to keep Liano on-board.
“Where we left last season is that Gina said she would not come back to the show if Sally was on the series, and that has taken us some time to resolve how we move forward,” Mr Walsh said.
Foxtel’s Group General Manager, LifeStyle, Wendy Moore said of the new cast line-up: “The Real Housewives of Melbourne has had our fans on the edge of their seat – desperate for its return. It’s quite simply the most popular reality program, loved by our audiences for the fun, outrageous and laugh-out-loud personalities. We are thrilled with the new line-up of strong, successful women and can’t wait for viewers to get a window into their lives – it is sure to be, once again, compulsive viewing.”
The Real Housewives of Melbourne is available to watch on Foxtel