NeNe Leakes sees herself as the Queen Bee of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” the only original member left after 12 seasons.
NeNe said on the show that “NayNay,” her alter ego, “always wins. She’s been winning for years.”
But as the first ever Bravo “Housewives” virtual reunion revealed, most of the ladies had no desire to bow down to the Queen. In fact, she was attacked numerous times by three of the other cast members. And she fought back by using the “b****” word many many times.
“One minute in and I’m called a ‘b****.’ Ahead of schedule!” Kenya Moore said slyly.
NeNe spent this past season trying to mend fences with each of the ladies, and it seems the only one that was even close to fully repaired was her relationship with Porsha Williams. She also came to a passable detente with Cynthia Bailey and a somewhat neutral state with Kandi Burruss, who she was never all that close to.
But she never really got there with relative newcomer Eva Marcille or Queen Bee Contender Kenya.
Moments into the reunion, NeNe and Kandi were going at it, with Kandi throwing in some serious shade. Soon, Eva and NeNe babbled at each other semi-nonsensically. Even Kandi “read” NeNe’s relationship with Wendy Williams as convenient and strategic, not organic.
When host Andy Cohen asked Kenya if she felt any of NeNe’s efforts to fix her friendships felt sincere, Kenya said, “I do not believe that anything about her is sincere.”
NeNe on the episode said if she came to the women with an apology, it was sincere.
Porsha was NeNe’s strongest advocate, going after Kenya with glee.
She said Kenya does not accept apologies well and lacks sincerity herself. She noted that Kenya on social media promised “receipts” on the reunion show regarding how fake some of the other women’s relationships were. So Porsha asked her where they were? She even held actual paper receipts in her hand as props.
Kenya said she heard NeNe critique Porsha about “Celebrity Apprentice,” which was years ago. The ladies were not impressed.
Porsha came back with a supposed “receipt” herself: a text to Porsha this past year where Kenya dogged out her friend Cynthia. “Cynthia,” Porsha said to Cynthia: “She ain’t your friend!” With a self-satisfied smirk, she then sent the screen shot to Cynthia and Andy.
Kandi didn’t feel the reconciliation between NeNe and Porsha was authentic. NeNe went after Porsha last year while Porsha was pregnant and dealing with her fiancé’s cheating.
Porsha acknowledged she was upset at the time, and she insulted NeNe on social media and vice versa. But she truly cared about her friendship with NeNe, who counseled her as her first marriage fell apart. So they kissed and made up in a genuine way and are now allies.
The end of the episode featured several of the women talking over each other and Andy trying to corral them from afar.
Here are other highlights from the jam-packed hour, which was about taped two weeks ago:
- Rumor mill: NeNe toward the end of season 12 spread rumors that Kenya’s pregnancy of Brooklyn did not involve Kenya’s eggs and that Kenya’s marriage was fake. Kenya didn’t address the egg issue, but did show off an actual marriage certificate with Marc Daly to prove they were legally hitched.
NeNe refused to apologize for any anti-Kenya gossip she was saying. “I’ve been called bipolar and nobody has apologized for that, so I’m not going to apologize for this period.
Eva, in full sarcasm mode: “That is so becoming of a grandmother.”
Not divorced—yet: During season 12, Kenya’s hubby Marc came across as unpleasant, insensitive, and arrogant — especially towards Kenya. The only time he was nice was to his daughter.
Marc and Kenya separated last summer, but she said they have not pursued divorce proceedings.
“We’re working on it,’ Kenya said. “We’re in counseling. And Mark has made a complete 360. He seems like he’s fighting for his family, and that’s all I ever wanted. I blocked him, and then he started to ask to speak with me and email me and be more humble in the relationship. He really wants to work on it.”
They are doing Zoom therapy since he’s in New York, she said.
Andy: “There’s a part of me that thinks he saw what an a**hole he was on the show and decided to change?”
Kenya: “I think you can start to open your mind up to the possibility of, ‘Yah, I was wrong!’... Maybe that is partially why.”
A listener wondered why she let Marc treat her the way he did without fighting back.
Kenya: “If things happen and I don’t like it, I address it after the cameras stop rolling.”
Cohen said seeing such a strong woman like Kenya treated with such disdain hurt his heart.
“When it comes to my family, when it comes to someone I really care about and love, I’m not a fighter like that,” Kenya said tearfully. “I’m not going to be combative.”
Tit for tat: Another fan asked how Kenya felt about her negative statements regarding other people’s marriages over the years (e.g. Phaedra Parks, Kim Fields, Kim Zolciak, Porsha) and whether she saw this as karma.
Kenya basically spun the argument that those women deserved the critiques because they went after her, too: “You’d have to ask that fan the things they said about me and my relationships.”
Porsha accused Kenya of playing victim yet again. “If you are a changed person, you need to acknowledge your past,” Porsha said.
Karma?? NeNe said she felt Kenya’s karma is coming back to her because when Kenya was maligning other people’s marriages, she had never been married before. Now that she’s married, she’s having a tough time herself.
Meanest read of the night: “You look like a white woman in drag,” Kenya said to NeNe. “I don’t know if I’m at a Real Housewives reunion or a scene from ‘White Chicks.’”
Best retort of the night
NeNe: “This is my house b****!”
Kenya: “You got evicted!”
Part two of three parts is next week.
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