If you managed to see the first episode of the Atlanta housewives on the Andy Cohen hosted 3-part “Real Housewives of Atlanta Reunion Show”, three things were clear: Kenya Moore enjoys antagonizing the other ladies, Porsha Williams’ may be on borrowed time after her attack on the aforementioned Ms. Moore, and Mrs.Nene Leakes clearly had checked out of the entire ordeal from the word go. It was apparent from the start of the reunion special, as well the entire season leading up to the tumultuous confrontations between these loud and outspoken housewives — and Kenya. So what were the signs?
Her demeanor. Nene (full name Linnethia Monique Leakes) is not known for mincing her words when confronted by — and confronting — current members of the RHOA cast as well as former housewives who have since moved on from the show (read: Sheree Whitfield and Kim Zolciak ), but her increasingly hostile and dismissive tone during the reunion spoke volumes. Coupled with the fallout between the 5’10 intimidating alumni and her demure and sometimes meek friend, fellow Housewives cast member Cynthia Bailey, it appeared that the 46 year old mother of two was in no mood to entertain the poking and prodding of Housewives creator Andy Cohen. When asked questions, she rarely made eye contact and often looked blankly ahead when other housewives were talking, something immediately noticeable in the second episode of the reunion when Kandi Burruss, songstress and music mogul, angrily addressed a point that Mr. Cohen brought up to Nene in regards to a blog post in which she made a snark-laced comment about Burruss’s mother after Kandi mentioned that she thought it was weird to see Nene run from a fight. Needless to say, Kandi did not appreciate Nene’s jab at her mother or her supposed hypocrisy when she talked against going after family members, but Mrs. Leakes stayed ever defiant, loudly standing by what she said. It is not rare to see Nene yelling and not apologizing for her harsh criticisms, but this time, it was more vitriolic and dripped with more venom than ever before.
Her blatant arrogance. It is no secret that The Real Housewives of Atlanta is not only the highest rated show of the entire Housewives franchise, but is Bravo TV’s highest rated show, period. It consistently brings in big ratings, and Nene Leakes’ $1 million paycheck is the highest of any of the other housewives. But if one thing was clear with this reunion special, it was that Andy Cohen had created a monster, and he knows it. Her surly attitude not only seeped over to her fellow castmates, but to Andy as well when he confronted Nene about the perceived homophobic comments Leakes made after Kenya Moore’s antic caused her friend Brandon DeShay to jump to her defense at Nene’s lingerie party, and was subsequently attacked by Apollo Nida, husband of housewife Phaedra Parks. When Cohen told Nene that her comments were offensive to him and many in the gay community, Nene made what had to be one of the poorest attempts at an apology ever and then proceeded to mock Mr. Cohen when it appeared to not be a satisfying act of contrition. But in her defense, it was an apology… of sorts. But even still, her high salary and the fact that she is the only original housewife left from the show’s start may be why it seems she skates by on holding herself in such high regard while supposedly looking down on the others.
Her declining popularity. Mrs. Leakes has consistently brought the drama, the flare, and the finger snapping pizzazz to the Real Housewives of Atlanta world and she has grown a loyal fanbase over the years who are dedicated making gifs and memes of her sharp wit and one liners. However, the love that many had for the outspoken Glee star has started to wane in the recent years as Leakes ventured off to do other projects, like The New Normal, which has since been cancelled. It was not her different pursuits that began to rub people the wrong way, but the holier-than-thou persona she began to adopt, often sound as though she was exalted over the other members of the Housewives cast, a point that was exacerbated by her “critique” of Cynthia’s parenting habits in regards to her daughter, as well as her less than flattering behavior at Kenya’s event for Nene’s charity. Although I agree that Kenya’s last minute invite to the very person she claimed to be honoring at the event was in poor taste and likely calculated, Nene’s cold speech when given the microphone by Ms. Moore only served to make her look like the smaller person. Well played, Kenya. And speaking of which:
Kenya Moore. Anyone with eyes, ears, a Twitter account, and their ear to the ground knows that Kenya Moore has definitely emerged as the most controversial figure of The Real Housewives of Atlanta and she has embraced that role, for better or for worse. If she was not stirring trouble for Apollo and Phaedra (the Textgate), she was getting under Nene’s skin, and try as she might, Leakes did a terrible job of hiding her annoyance at Miss “‘Gone With The Wind’ Fabulous” Moore. Kenya Moore’s mission from the start seemed to be to unseat Queen Nene from her self-appointed throne as the most popular housewife, and for various reasons, many think it is working (“many” being myself). Also, Nene, while being coy, showed delight in witnessing housewife Phaedra Parks scathingly blast Kenya Moore for her repeated attempts at trying to denigrate her husband’s character as well as her, while also making a very pointed jab at Ms. Moore’s trips to clinics for “reproductive purposes”. Kenya was also developing a friendship with Marlo Hampton, once bestie of Nene’s and bridesmaid to her wedding, which evidently did not sit well with Mrs. Leakes. There are those that suspect that this “friendship” between Marlo and Kenya is the latter’s attempt at rattling Nene, although during the reunion, Cynthia chimed in and stated that Marlo and Nene’s relationship had been strained long before Kenya came into the picture. But, it is still clear that there is a plan in motion here, and Kenya just might see it come to fruition.
One thing is very clear where Nene Leakes is concerned: she’s loud, she’s brazen, and she is unapologetically outspoken when it comes to a lot of things. However, it is also clear that she has all but burned every bridge since the start of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, and what looked to be the last friendship Nene had left [Cynthia] has all but gone up in smoke, due to many factors, but the obvious being the argument between Nene and Cynthia’s husband Peter Thomas in particular, and her use of the “B-word” when lambasting him for getting involved in the squabbling of the other women. That spark and flare that once made her the most adored and demanded of the housewives is now what is turning many off. If Nene were to leave the show, I would wonder how it could possibly keep going without its signature star and the only one that has that mix of personal accomplishments as well as a bubbly and passionate personality. But as the old saying goes: “There’s only one way to find out.”