Wendy Williams may have announced that NeNe Leakes is leaving The Real Housewives of Atlanta during the Tuesday, January 21, episode of The Wendy Williams Show … but the host seemingly didn’t have permission — or accurate facts — from the longtime peach holder.
“I took a break between commercials, my office is right there behind the set. I had to go to the bathroom and so I looked at my phone between commercials. And NeNe texts, ‘I’m quitting,’” the 55-year-old host told guest Jerry O’Connell. “I’m surprised I got it, because I have no service in my office, but I got it.”
Williams continued: “I know something about NeNe that you all will cry, be sad and feel bad for her. She’s carrying the weight of a huge thing on her shoulders. I’m not going to say it, she’s got to say it. But in my opinion, NeNe, you need this platform to explain the other part of your life.”
The Ask Wendy author then implied that Leakes, 52, had more to share up her sleeve.
“Forget arguing with them broads — you’ve got that secret, and that secret is going to melt their hearts. Because when she shared it with me, I cried with her,” Williams said. “NeNe, you need that platform to explain. That’s all. I’m telling you. NeNe, don’t quit.”
A rep for Leakes, meanwhile, told Us Weekly that the Glee alum hasn’t made a decision about her future on the Bravo series yet.
“It’s been an especially difficult couple of weeks for Nene, and she was venting to her friend in private correspondence,” the statement to Us reads. “Nothing has been confirmed or officially decided for next season.”
According to a source close to the show, Leakes was just talking to her friend about the situation.
“NeNe goes through this every season, it’s never a sure thing that she nor any of the ladies are officially returning until she sits with Bravo to discuss after every season,” the source explains. “She was just venting to Wendy, she has not officially decided either way.”
Leakes, an original Atlanta Housewife, first left her full-time role on the series after seven seasons in 2015. She subsequently returned for season 10 in 2017.
“This season more than ever NeNe feels consistently attacked by the other ladies and unsupported by the network,” the source says, noting that her husband Gregg Leakes’ battle with cancer has affected how she feels about the show. “With Gregg surviving cancer, she’s in a different head space and is extremely frustrated from the daily attacks she endures from the other women. She’s done being villainized for someone else’s gain.”
“I’m excited for them to finally, or hopefully, I will be praying with my wig off, they get to show some of [my costars’] true colors this season and show who they truly are,” NeNe told Us in October 2019. “So I hope that that will come full circle. And let’s see some of the real bullies that are around here. And let’s see, I hope they show, some of the gang up. Because there’s a lot of ganging up.”
The Real Housewives of Atlanta airs on Bravo Sundays at 8 p.m. ET.
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