Prior to announcing her departure from the Real Housewives of Atlanta Monday, Sheree Whitfield had been with the series since its 2008 premiere, but her costar NeNe Leakes says Whitfield may not have got the gig if it wasn't for her.
Opening up to Andy Cohen on Sunday's reunion show (taped long before Whitfield announced her exit), Leakes confirms she had a hand in getting her then-pal a spot on the series.
"Everybody interviewed, but it goes beyond that," Leakes -- who auditioned for the series and then talked up her friends Whitfield and Kim Zolciak to producers -- tells Cohen in a preview from the reunion episode. "Sheree interviewed, however they thought she was a tad bit boring, and I went to bat for her."
Though Leakes doesn't feel her costars owe her for putting in a good word, the reality star-turned-actress gets defensive when Whitfield counters that she was the one who generated buzz during the first season -- not Leakes. "In the first season, I'm the one who got it jumped off," Whitfield argues.
Fires back Leakes: "I went to bat for you. You don't have to believe it. You had a little help [with your audition]."
Announcing her exit from the series Monday, Whitfield told Wetpaint.com she was sick of the outlandish behavior that had become commonplace on the show. "The direction the show is going in is no longer a fit for my lifestyle," she said. "I'm tired of the fighting and the cattiness."
Watch more of Whitfield's confrontation with Leakes in the clip above before the third reunion installment airs Sunday at 9 p.m. (EST) on Bravo.