NeNe Leakes on ‘Reality With the King’ Podcast Part 1: RevelationsJuly 25, 2023
NeNe Leakes is ready to tell all about her time on the Real Housewives of Atlanta and the drama in her personal life following her exit from the series.
NeNe, 55, sat down with Carlos King — who is a former producer for RHOA — in the first part of their “Reality With the King” podcast episode which dropped on Tuesday, July 25. NeNe revealed that King, 43, had asked her to come on his show several times before but was “finally ready” now.
Keep scrolling to see NeNe’s biggest revelations from the first part of their conversation:
NeNe’s Shocking ‘RHOA’ Salary
NeNe revealed that she made a total of “$10,000” to film the first season of the iconic Bravo series and got an extra “$5,000” for the reunion special. King noted that the women filmed for three months. For season 2, NeNe couldn’t recall the exact amount but estimated it was around “$50,000.”
Leakes and her fellow OG costars rallied for a pay increase and got the same attorney to negotiate with the network. NeNe, Shereé Whitfield and Kim Zolciak-Biermann ended up scoring around $100K to $150K. NeNe admitted the cast didn’t start seeing financial success until season 4.
Being Left Off Sheree’s List
In RHOA’s inaugural season, NeNe was famously left off the guest list of Shereé’s birthday party after the pair had a disagreement. Shereé, 53, later admitted she purposely excluded NeNe from the list. However, NeNe confessed she “always knew” that was the case.
“That’s probably the best thing she did was leave me off of the list. Honestly … the show became huge from that moment forward, she said. “But I always knew she purposely left me off the list. …Now the question would be, why? Why leave me off the list? Honey, without me, there’s no, you.”
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How Has NeNe Changed Since Her ‘RHOA’ Days?
Following the success of the show, NeNe was launched into superstardom and with her rise to fame, she was criticized for having a big ego.
“People like to say you’ve changed over the years. Well, the thing is, you’re supposed to grow. Every year you get older, you know, it’s not like I’m getting younger. And you learn from your mistakes and you become more and more mature,” she explained. “I think people try to say ego when the cameras are watching you and all these people are pulling you apart every single day.”
A Shift on ‘RHOA’
As the show developed in the beginning, NeNe began to notice things started to change once Kenya Moore joined the cast in season 5. NeNe noted that the original Housewives started the shows with their “real husbands” and “real boyfriends” and the drama that followed their relationships.
“Our stories were real. Everything we talked about and did was real. When we had disagreements, they were real,” she explained. “We didn’t pretend like we had a boyfriend when we didn’t have one. Then I think once Kenya came on the show — I’m not saying that Kenya started it or did it — but at that moment, it started to be ‘let’s create our story line.’ Well, we didn’t create a story line. We just showed up to work and was just filming and being who we are.”
NeNe’s Bond With Cynthia Bailey
NeNE revealed she didn’t know Cynthia, 56, before she joined the cast of RHOA but the duo met for lunch before filming began. When they got together, NeNe claimed that Cynthia was starstruck during their first interaction. While NeNe was unsure if Cynthia would have been a good fit for the series at first, it wasn’t until NeNe met Cynthia’s ex Peter Thomas that she knew why the producers were interested in getting the model on the show.
“I know the Cynthia in front of the camera and I know Cynthia that’s not on camera. And so I feel like definitely the Cynthia that’s not on camera has the strength. And she’s vocal enough to be on the show for sure without Peter,” she explained. “But on camera, I felt like she never really wanted to show that side of her.”
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The Problems With Putting Her Family in the Spotlight
NeNe expressed the regrets she had about some of her family’s involvement in the show, including disciplining one of her sons on camera. (NeNe is the mother of sons Bryson Bryant, whom she shares with ex Calvin Bryant, and Brentt Leakes, whom she shared with late husband Gregg Leakes.)
“I disciplined my son once on camera that everybody goes back and, and say, over and over ‘You lost your damn mind.’ You know? I felt like that really hurt my son’s feelings,” she confessed. “I don’t wanna hurt my children in the process of doing something that I wanna do. So I wished I could take that moment back.”
An Update on Bryson Following His Drug Arrest
Before the podcast aired, Us Weekly confirmed that NeNe’s eldest son, 31, was booked on multiple charges in Lawrenceville, Georgia earlier this month — including violating probation, possession of a schedule II controlled substance, loitering/prowling and giving a false name to a law enforcement officer after he allegedly told police he was his younger half-brother.
NeNe gave an update on her son and confessed he has struggled with “addiction” for years and “needs a lot of counseling.” However, NeNe admitted she’s done all she can do to help her son, who has a wife and three kids.
“It’s not much that I can do. For people who have had children or family members that have been on drugs. They know that they have to be ready,” she said. “I’ve spent so much money on trying to get Bryson where he needs to be. But every time I’ve sent him off, it’s because I said, you are getting your ass up and we are sending you off. But I learned through canceling myself that he has to say, I’m ready to go. Not me making him go. So until Bryson is ready to, to make a change, it’s nothing I can do. As a mother, I would never wash my hands of my child. But, um, I’m kind of numb to it because it’s been happening for so many years.”
However, NeNe confessed that several of her friends, including Lamar Odom, have reached out to her to offer their support and help Bryson seek treatment.
NeNe’s Ups and Downs With Late Husband
NeNe admitted being on reality TV put a strain on her and Gregg’s marriage. The couple wed in 1997 and called it quits in 2010. However, they reconciled three years later and remained together until Gregg died from cancer in 2021.
“Greg loved me for me, and he knew me for who I was. And also my husband was the breadwinner in my case. I wasn’t working and he made the money,” she said. “And once I started to make more money than him, he started looking at me, like, sideways … Because I no longer had to ask him for money. I no longer had to ask him for anything. … And so I think that I pulled some of his strength or his power or something.”
NeNe Leakes and Husband Gregg’s Unconventional Relationship Timeline
When NeNe and Gregg decided to divorce in 2010, she was “devastated” but chose to move forward with the breakup to “teach him a lesson.”
“The only lesson that Greg was gonna get was for me to divorce him. And I was gonna have to carry it all the way through,” she admitted. “And when I carried it all the way through, I will never forget. Greg called me on the phone. He said, ‘You b—h, you divorced me.’”
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Following his death, NeNe has dated but she admitted that Gregg was her “ultimate love” and she’s unsure if she’d find that again.
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