EXCLUSIVE: NeNe Leakes Says ‘I Felt Like They Hated Me’ When Speaking On Her Relationship With Bravo, Claims Two Of Her Former RHOA Co-Stars Were ‘Snitches’ & ‘Moles’ For The Network, & Clears Up Rumors On If She Was The Highest Paid Housewife
In an exclusive interview with theJasmineBRAND.com, NeNe Leakes dished on her latest business venture, The Linnethia Lounge, rumors surrounding RHOA and if she’d ever return, her thoughts on the show’s current cast, and issues she has with her former network Bravo. NeNe Leakes just might be the epitome of booked and busy! Many people first learned about the businesswoman/entertainer when she joined the OG cast of The Real Housewives of Atlanta in 2008. NeNe Leakes was a key part of the series until 2020 when it was announced that she would not be returning for another season. NeNe has appeared on multiple other reality shows throughout her career including Dancing with the Stars, Celebrity Apprentice, and MasterChef Celebrity Showdown. Reality tv isn’t the only way NeNe showcases her talents. She’s been on Broadway and was a star on Ryan Murphy’s scripted series The New Normal. In addition to making good tv, NeNe is a successful businesswoman, she owns a fashion boutique and recently opened a lounge. While speaking with theJasmineBrand she filled us in on what sets her lounge, The Linnethia Lounge, apart from others. She said,
“It’s a restaurant/lounge [and] it’s done amazing. I’m overjoyed with the success.”
“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.”
When asked what made her what to enter the restaurant business NeNe revealed that her former RHOA co-star Cynthia Bailey’s ex-husband, Peter Thomas, inspired her to open her lounge.
“I’ve been asked to get into [the restaurant] business for a long time, Peter Thomas was trying to push me for a long time to be his partner and to do it forever and I never, you know, joined him. And I said okay ‘I want to do something.’ So I took about two years [and] I started looking for locations. Every time I looked for a location somebody [else] gets it in front of me. I was like ‘it’s not meant to be’ and then one day I just stumbled upon this location without even really looking for a location. And it just happened, it just kind of happened for me.”
NeNe also shared how hands-on she is with her lounge.
“A lot of people I think they don’t expect me to be working in there. I think they expect me to be like hanging out and I actually have to say a good entrepreneur would work in their business and oversee their business. Otherwise, you’re bound to fail because no one is going to treat your business and love it the way that you do.”
During 2020 it seemed that NeNe was working on creating her very own talk show, The Read Session, hosted by herself and a few of her gay guy friends. However, after sharing the pilot for the series she hasn’t shared any more content relating to the talk show. She explained to us why the series is currently on a break.
“[The Read Session] is kind of on hold. When it started – I would have to say that I was not in a great mental place at the time and I really just needed to reset mentally. And just roll out my businesses a totally different way. So I just totally came off of social media, if you remember, I just kind of went silent on social media for a little while, just to get my focus together.”
“But I still want to do the show. I’ve actually pitched it to a lot of digital platforms and I
believe that it will come to life.”
It’s safe to say that many of NeNe’s fans are excited for The Read Session to make its return. During her time on RHOA NeNe quickly proved that her wordplay and reading sessions weren’t something to play with. Even though she’s no longer on the show her moment’s from the reality series often go viral online. Because she was such a fan favorite many people speculated that NeNe was the highest-paid housewife out of all the series franchises. However, she cleared up for us that that rumor isn’t necessarily true.
“I think that [rumor] was very false.”
“It is false. 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].”
It’s no secret that NeNe and Bravo had a falling out which seemingly played into her split from RHOA. The entertainer revealed more details about her issues with Bravo exclusively for theJasmineBrand. When asked if there was one incident that ultimately led to her leaving the show she said,
“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. 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. And I felt like – I’m not sure where, but I felt like they hated me.”
“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. 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.”
In addition to her issues with Bravo, NeNe dished on RHOA two co-stars, she wouldn’t name, that she feels acted like “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]?”
“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.”
The burning question on the minds of a lot of RHOA fans is; will NeNe ever make a return and hold a peach once again? When asked what would it take for her to come back to the show she replied,
“It takes a real conversation with the network. It takes a real conversation [and] I have not been able to have that conversation.”
NeNe continued and confirmed the rumors that her fallout with Bravo caused her to be blackballed within the entertainment industry.
“It is very true it. It is very true.”
“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. 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.”
“It’s true! it’s true. It’s just true. It’s wrong [becasue] I don’t deserve that. But it happened so, you know, when that happens you just -you either – I just took another path.”
The latest season of RHOA seemingly received mixed reviews as some of the lovers of the franchise revealed the show didn’t deliver what they hoped it would. NeNe exclusively shared with theJasmineBrand her thoughts on the current state of The Real Housewives Of Atlanta and what she thinks the problem with the show is. She said,
“I think it’s the cast. 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.”
NeNe continued and used the dynamics on the reality show Basketball Wives as an example of how certain people can get special treatment while filming reality tv.
“I always use the example Basketball Wives and again, I love Basketball Wives when it first came on. I love the girls that were on it. I know all of the girls that are on the show, this is not an attack on them at all. I’m using it for an example because I watched the show for many seasons and I always thought that you could never attack Shaunie [O’neal] and I would think every time you did you got put off the show, they weren’t there the next season.”
“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.”
“And so, same thing with Housewives. Even the [other] franchises, I feel like all the good characters, not speaking of myself, but on the other shows all of the good characters they get rid of them.”
What are your thoughts on what Nene Leakes exclusively shared with theJasmineBrand? Tell us in the comments below.