From friends to lovers. Apollo Nida’s fiancée, Sherien Almufti, spoke exclusively to Us Weekly about the pair’s relationship just ahead of her dramatic Sunday, April 2, debut on The Real Housewives of Atlanta.
Almufti, 34, told Us that she and Nida, 38, were strictly friends since 2013, but that his going away to prison for fraud changed their relationship — for the better.
“I think the night we took him away [to prison] I felt something completely different,” she told Us. “Like, we’ve experienced something, you know. He cried on my shoulder. We held [each other] for a while. I just let him know — I told him as a friend — ‘I’m gonna be there for you.’ See, he was there for me, as well. … So I, in return as a friend first, before anything else, I told him I was gonna be there for him. Because I watched how a lot of people kind of just turned their backs on him.”
As previously reported, Nida started his eight-year federal prison sentence in September 2014 after being convicted of fraud. His estranged wife and Real Housewives of Atlanta star, Phaedra Parks, filed for divorce one month later, ending their five-year marriage.
Almufti told Us that she didn’t know whether or not Parks knew she was acting as Nida’s support system during the early days of his time in prison, but clarified that her now-financé never got romantic prior to his split because she had “tremendous respect for his marriage.”
“I was married before and my husband cheated on me,” Almufti said. “And at the same time, I was actually dating someone. So I wasn’t like — it wasn’t that way. It was just more — it started out as a business situation.” The pair talked often about real estate in Philadelphia, where Almufti works.
Over the next few years, however, she and Nida got closer, with her visiting him in prison on weekends whenever she was able, though they weren’t allowed to do anything more than kiss — though, according to Almufti, they “tongue each other down” when they do.
Then, last November, Nida asked Almufti to marry him in an untraditional way, in an untraditional setting.
“He just held my hand and he asked and I didn’t think he was serious and I was like, ‘What? This is not how I obviously imagined you asking me to marry you, but OK,’” she told Us. “But, yeah, it was unexpected. But he did promise me a different proposal — a different setting.”
The pair may have to wait a while to legally tie the knot, however: as reported earlier this week, a judge reversed his decision on Parks and Nida’s divorce judgment based on Parks misspelling Nida’s name on legal documents, and the possibility that Nida was not actually served the finalized divorce papers.
Parks had previously claimed during a November 2016 interview with TMZ that her divorce was finalized. She and Nida share two sons — Ayden, 6, and Dylan, 3.