Nene Leakes spoke out about her contentious relationship with Bravo, dished about the current Real Housewives of Atlanta cast, and shared her latest business ventures, during a new interview with theJasmineBRAND.
NeNe busted onto the reality TV scene in 2008 as an original RHOA cast member. NeNe announced her most recent departure from the show in 2020. The Bravo alum appeared on several reality shows throughout her career, including “Dancing with the Stars,” “Celebrity Apprentice,” and “MasterChef Celebrity Showdown.” She enjoyed a stint on Broadway and appeared on Ryan Murphy’s scripted series, “The New Normal.”
NeNe’s latest venture is her new restaurant/lounge project, The Linnethia Lounge. She shared with the outlet what she believes makes the place special.
“It’s a restaurant/lounge [and] it’s done amazing. I’m overjoyed with the success,” the reality TV veteran said. “We’re very unique because usually the gays party by themselves, the grown and sexy party by themselves, [and] the youngins party by themselves [but] they all party together [at] the [Linnethia] lounge.”
NeNe added that Cynthia Bailey’s ex-husband, Peter Thomas, was the person who inspired her to open her new business.
NeNe shot down fan speculation that she holds the record as the highest-paid Housewife.
“It is false,” NeNe said about the rumor. “I may have had the higher per episodic fee. However, if you aren’t in all of the episodes then anybody could have made more money than I made, do you understand? So if I had the highest episode fee but I was only in eight episodes but you were in 18 and your fee was – I don’t know, $60k, you made more money than me at the end of the day.”
“I don’t know who’s making $60k, I’m just saying that as an [example],” she added.
NeNe dished more details about her explosive conflict with Bravo and clarified if there was one incident that ultimately led to her departure.
“It’s been happening for a very long time. Honestly, to just be honest with you, I was getting a lot of treatment that the viewers just don’t get to see that was happening behind the scenes [and] was happening undercover,” NeNe explained. “It was happening consistently to me, you know, when you’re working for a company this large you wish to work it out or try to work it out behind closed doors and I felt like behind closed doors all of my efforts were being unseen and unheard.”
“I felt like at some point, you know, I loved [Bravo] like they were a family, obviously, if you work for a company that long,” NeNe continued. “And I felt like – I’m not sure where, but I felt like they hated me.”
NeNe alleged that the Bravo machine actually “hated” her during her time on the Atlanta franchise.
“That’s a strong word but obviously when I look back over all of the things that were happening to me behind the scenes, they hated me,” NeNe said. “That’s just what it was. I felt like I was just there to be a workhorse. They were using me to build the network, to build the show, and at the same time they were doing things behind closed doors to me that was just really unethical.”
NeNe claimed that there were two women on the cast who she believes served as “house snitches” and “moles” for the network.
“[Bravo] had help in doing what they did. There were a couple of girls on the show who – I don’t know if you remember Gabrielle Union speaking out when she had an issue [on America’s Got Talent] and there was one particular guy that, you know, she called like the house [snitch]?” NeNe recalled.
“There are two girls in particular in our cast that are like the house [snitch], you know, back in the day they called them house whatever…I’m going to call them a house snitch. They appeared on the show as one thing and actually behind the scenes, they were a whole mole,” she claimed.
NeNe also alleged that she had been blackballed within the entertainment industry because of her bold stand against Bravo.
“Before this, before speaking out, I had so many opportunities on the table even like weight loss [endorsement] opportunities, radio opportunities, all kinds of opportunities on the table,” she explained. “Obviously, I’ve been doing this a long time, okay. So you don’t have a person that has worked every day for all of these years and suddenly everything just comes to a screeching halt. So all of the opportunities that I had on the table, they all went away. Immediately they just started dropping one by one by one.”
NeNe weighed in on the current state of RHOA, amid reports that the show’s ratings took a nosedive after her exit.
“I think it’s the cast,” NeNe said when asked to pinpoint the problem. “I also think that as viewers, you know, you get to – you can’t really trick the viewer’s eyes. And I think that when you have certain people that you can’t go after or those couple of certain people get to, you know, never be attacked or they get to just sit there, I think that just gets boring.”
“It doesn’t make for a good show when you can only keep attacking the same people and the other people never get to get attacked,” she noted.