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MANILA, Philippines – Bobby Berk, the celebrated interior design expert of Netflix’s hit reality makeover series Queer Eye, announced his departure from the show after eight seasons.
Berk confirmed the news in an Instagram post, addressed to the Queer Eye community “who have become family” to him.
“It’s with a heavy heart that I announce that season 8 will be my final season on Queer Eye. It’s not been an easy decision to be at peace with, but a necessary one. Although my journey with Queer Eye is over, my journey with you is not. You will be seeing more of me very soon. I love you all so, so much and I’ll meet you all in Nola for one final season,” he wrote.
The designer thanked fans of the show, expressing gratitude for the “absolutely surreal” love and support he received over his six years on the show.
“You have tuned in and been dedicated fans and together we were able to share the healing powers of design. I learned from you all about kindness, love, and acceptance and that has changed my life for the better,” he said.
Berk also recognized the subjects of Queer Eye’s heartwarming episodic makeovers.
“To all our wonderful, loving, amazing, and brave heroes, there is so much I want to say, and so much gratitude I want to express to you all for letting me into your homes and hearts…. Being able to help guide you to find the best version of yourselves is something I never took for granted and never will,” he said.
Berk did not disclose the reason for his departure.
According to an US Weekly source, Berk was allegedly “asked to leave” due to a lack of synergy with the rest of the cast.
The challenges reportedly included scheduling conflicts and a noticeable decline in Berk’s interest in the show. The insider noted that these factors led the network and the cast to believe it was time to inject new energy into the series. There was supposedly some resentment from the cast, who felt Berk’s diminishing commitment impacted the overall dynamics of the show.
However, conflicting reports emerged, with a second source claiming that Berk’s departure was amicable and that he was not asked to leave.
Despite his departure, Berk will still be featured in the upcoming eighth season of Queer Eye, which has already been filmed in New Orleans and is set to premiere on Netflix on January 24, 2024.
The news of Berk’s departure prompted an outpouring of support from fans and co-hosts alike. Co-host Karamo Brown commented on Berk’s social media post: “@bobby we are #ForeverTheFab5 | no matter what. I’m about to be at Netflix’s door & e-mails telling them you can’t leave! Who is coming with me? I love you!”
Antoni Porowski added his own comment, saying, “#foreverthefab5 indeed, and don’t forget it,” while Jonathan van Ness kept his comment short and sweet with a heart emoji.
Berk was a founding member of the Fab Five when the show was first rebooted in 2018, starring alongside Brown, Porowski, Van Ness, and Tan France. He was responsible for drastically transforming their subjects’ homes from 2018 to 2022.
The Emmy Award-winning television franchise centered around a group of queer professionals collectively known as the Fab Five, who provided lifestyle and fashion makeovers to guests every episode, using their individual expertise.
Queer Eye was well-received for its inclusive representation and commitment to showcasing diversity, including people of color.
Apart from his stint on Queer Eye, Berk also authored Right at Home: How Good Design Is Good for the Mind: An Interior Design Book. – with reports from Dana Villano/Rappler.com
Dana Villano is a Rappler intern.