If you let the media tell it, there’s always some drama involving NeNe Leakes over at E!’s ‘Fashion Police,’ and beyond — but our own B. Scott decided to give NeNe a call and find out what’s REALLY going on.
Not only did NeNe open up about her time on ‘Fashion Police,’ but she also got candid about the upcoming ninth season of The Real Housewives of Atlanta and her ongoing ‘feud’ with Wendy Williams.
Check out our exclusive interview with NeNe Leakes below!
On being absent from the last episode of ‘Fashion Police’: “I was only hired to do 10 of the 12 episodes for Fashion Police because I already had previous engagements. When Kris Jenner was on, I was in Canada working my clothing line. When the Oscars are coming up, I’ll be in NYC hosting an Oscars party for Samsung.”
On what’s happening behind the ‘FP’ scenes: “I don’t know. What I do know is that I’ve been very kind to everyone on that set. That includes, Giuliana, Melissa, Brad, Margaret — now, I am not saying it has been reciprocated. What I AM saying is that I have been professional and kind to everyone.
All of these things that you’re hearing, I’m hearing. I don’t know if any of these things are true or not. All I know is that Margaret is super sweet. She’s kind to me.
Before Melissa took over, I was on when Joan was there. I co-hosted when Joan was there and Melissa was producing.”
On what it’s like being on ‘Fashion Police’ amid rumored tension: “It’s very weird. Let me tell you what happens — when you arrive on set, everybody goes to their dressing rooms. When they say ‘come out’, everyone comes out and sits on the couch. There’s no talking, no communication, nothing.
My dressing room isn’t even on the same side as everyone else. They have my dressing room way on the other side from everybody. So I don’t even see them.
I just come and sit down. Whenever they say, ‘Come and sit down, NeNe’, I come and sit down. I don’t move until they say ‘Wrap!’ and then I get up and leave. They don’t talk. No one talks between moments, really. There might be a little casual chit-chat like ‘I like your shoes,’ or something but no conversation. It’s really weird.
[The producers] just put us there. Whatever they tell us not to do, we don’t do. We’re scared to chew damn chewing gum — we don’t do sh*t! It upsets me that I’m just coming on to this set — and I literally don’t do anything outside of my job — and for me to be blamed for anything upsets me.
If you watch the show, Melissa says ‘NeNe, what do you think’ and then I say my little things and then I sit there and laugh when someone says something funny. I don’t say anything else because there’s nothing I can say. There’s nothing I can do.
If you went up to Melissa and asked her, and she was honest, she’d tell you that I’m nothing but professional on set.”
On rumors she’s a diva on the ‘Fashion Police’ set: “‘Fashion Police’ has really disturbed me. For people who know me, I’m a worker bee. I work my ass off. I really enjoy working. I’m not one of those people who’s lazy. I’m a go-getter. I’m a hard worker. I’m not one of those girls looking for a man to take care of me. I enjoy having my own coins. I enjoy being independent. To have someone consistently putting out a bad report about me, I feel like it’s coming from someone on the inside — and I’m sad about that.
I was just brought in to help bring the cast back together…because so many people have quit. Kathy Griffin, Kelly Osbourne. I realized there was issue when I came in there.
I’m not a problem. I don’t walk into any set being a problem. I would be an absolute fool walking on any set being a problem. When I worked on Glee, The New Normal, Dancing With the Stars, Zumanity and any of the other sh*t you’ve seen me on — they ask ‘Do you need anything?’ and I say no. I do not need breakfast, I do not need lunch, I do not need dinner. The only thing I need is my check when we finish working! I bring my own breakfast, my own lunch, and my own dinner. When I leave, I just need my check deposited on the day you said it would be deposited on. You can get all the directors and heads of production companies to vouch for that.
The fact that I keep getting these jobs says something. They could’ve kept anyone on The Real Housewives of Atlanta as long as I’ve been on — they could’ve kept Sheree, they could’ve kept Kim, the could’ve kept anybody…but they kept me. Why did Ryan Murphy take me over from Glee to The New Normal? Tell me that.
Out of all the women in the franchise, why did HSN choose to do a line with NeNe Leakes? Tell me that.
People wouldn’t continue to work with me if I was as unprofessional as people make it seem.”
On what happened at ‘The View’: “I’ve never went to a show and have been treated that way before. What happened at ‘The View’ is truly what happened at ‘The View’.
Why they chose to do that that particular day? I do not know, B. Scott. I do not know. All I know is that they weren’t being friendly with me. I’ve co-hosted on ‘The View’ a couple of times. I’ve been a guest on ‘The View’ a couple of times. I don’t know, maybe some people were having a bad day. I just know they were not friendly.”
Q: Was it the pictures of your house that set things off? “No, I don’t think that was it. What I showed was a picture of my house when it was brand new. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Also, like I said, my house was brand new at the time. Unless you shop off the floor — if you want custom furniture, every room won’t be furnished when you move into a house. I don’t have anything to prove to anyone. If I want a house full of furniture, I can have it. If I don’t want a house full of furniture, I don’t have to have it. But no, I don’t think that’s where the problem started.
I don’t think Candace was coming for me. The other white lady — I forget her name — was nice. Everyone else was very…different. Why they chose to be like that on that particular day, I do not know. All I know is that they were not friendly to me — and I can guarantee you this. They know they weren’t being friendly!
Joy Behar wouldn’t even take a picture with me. She walked off the set. She wouldn’t even take the group picture — and I cropped Raven out because she was just unkind. Whoopi sat back and didn’t really engage at all.
When I showed my home — for the African American women on the couch, it’s not a lot of us that can afford the type of house that I purchased. Okay? You guys know I’m here, you know I’m promoting the fact that I’m on Broadway for the SECOND time. You don’t see any Black reality show stars doing scripted series, designing at HSN, owning homes like this — you don’t see that really. There are actors who don’t even get to do Broadway…so it was very odd it felt like they were trying to bring me down.”
On whether or not she’ll return to ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’ as an official housewife and who she thinks should return: “We’re shooting our reunion show on Thursday. I don’t know who will be back and who won’t be back. What I do know is that they need girls with a storyline. I think they need women in relationships — whether they’re married or single. And they need more women from the Atlanta area with a Georgia background. I mean, this is the Atlanta housewives.”
On her feud with Wendy Williams: “I have never had a problem with Wendy, let’s be clear! I have never had a problem with Wendy. Every week on her show she began speaking negatively about me. When her show first started out and it was doing well, I bought her a bag. Not to brag about what it was or to make a big deal out of it — because no one knew until she brought it up and started doing this sh*t.
I’ve been on her show several times — all of a sudden she starts bashing me every single week. The one time I came back and let Wendell know that she was not going to be doing that — she all of a sudden starting having an issue with me and never spoke to or about me again, as far as I know.
If she spoke to me today, I would speak to her. I don’t hold a grudge. I want to support Wendy. It’s not in my heart to not support another successful Black woman, but that’s just how it is right now.”
On what went down with her and Wendy at the Women’s Expo: “I hadn’t gotten there, my glam was there. We were both speaking at the Expo. Now, they originally had our dressing rooms set up next door to each other and when I got there my glam told me her husband had my glam moved a room or two down away from Wendy’s room.
It didn’t happen while I was there. I wasn’t there. When I got on stage to speak, I said “I’m not gon’ give you 10 rules to live by.” Wendy had opened up her speech with “I’m gon’ give you 10 rules to live by,” and her husband felt I was shading her or being rude or whatever. And he was backstage cursing saying “Get that motherf**cking b*tch off the stage!”
I didn’t hear him, but he was backstage cursing and my people heard him. The State Patrol that was securing the stage heard him. He was just going crazy from what I understand backstage and they escorted him out of the building. But, he later apologized through some other people. He never got to me, he was with Diana — he was cursing in front of Diana. I was never actually involved with it. Me and Wendy never saw each other at the Women’s Expo. We never came in contact with each other. I never saw her husband or anything.
It’s sad, because I would support her in a heartbeat. Like I would have no problem. That’s not my heart, That’s not who I am. Why would I not support this lady? What for? That’s not my heart. But apparently that’s her heart — to bash African American women in the business. That’s all I’ve seen her do when she opens up her show. It seems when I was looking at her show, she would sit there and cross her legs and talk about Black women in the business. That’s what it looks like, that’s all I see. I do have good ole eyes and I don’t wear glasses or contacts!”
There’s nothing like getting piping hot tea straight from the source! Big thanks NeNe for taking the time to clear some of this up for us!
Update: NeNe’s ‘Fashion Police’ co-host Margaret Cho is speaking out in NeNe’s defense.
— Margaret Cho (@margaretcho) February 23, 2016
I love you gurl! You SLAY https://t.co/xQM4wPDSvg
— Margaret Cho (@margaretcho) February 24, 2016