The ladies of Real Housewives of Atlanta are back for Season 12, but star NeNe Leakes was noticeably absent in the season premiere. While rumors have swirled that Leakes missed the first few weeks of filming because she didn’t want to shoot scenes with her co-stars, Leakes is setting the record straight.
The Season 12 premiere focused on the lives of Kenya Moore, Cynthia Bailey, Eva Marcille, Porsha Williams, and Kandi Burruss, while Leakes was nowhere to be found. In a new interview with People magazine, Leakes explained that she was still trying to work out her contract when filming started.
“There were a lot of rumors around the time, and I was really skeptical about what I was going to do,” Leakes explained. “I really didn’t know what I was going to do, I really didn’t. I had one foot in, and one foot out.”
Leakes also texted with Wendy Williams during the premiere, and on Monday’s episode of The Wendy Williams Show, the diva talk show host shared Leakes’ message about her absence. Leakes wrote that no matter how hard they try, when people think about RHOA, they think about NeNe Leakes, and all of the comments on social media about her not being part of the premiere prove it.
“That is not to say the other girls don’t bring it, because they do, it’s just factssssss,” wrote Leakes.
The 51-year-old ended up missing the first two episodes, so fans won’t see her until episode three. She says that her return to RHOA hasn’t been easy (the OG wasn’t a part of the show during Seasons 8 and 9), but she says she doesn’t regret her behavior or anything that’s happened on the popular Bravo series.
The mom-of-three says that last season’s reunion left her feeling hurt because she keeps it real and she expressed her true feelings. Leakes says her pain is often misinterpreted because she often keeps her true feelings inside. She believes that when someone is louder and moves more boldly, those are the people who get the finger pointed at them, and “that’s always the case” with her.
Leakes is still excited for Season 12 to air so fans can see all that has happened and watch the relationships change. Still, she says she’s the same person who keeps it real, even though she has gotten older and has grown in many areas of her life.
Leakes is thrilled about the platform RHOA has given her, explaining that it has opened up many doors and opportunities. She added that her fans have meant everything to her, and they’ve embraced her for who she is and carried her through hard times.
New episodes of Real Housewives of Atlanta air Sunday nights on Bravo.