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NeNe Leakes Says ‘RHOA’ Is Not The Same After Her Departure; Says “It’s Kind Of Hard To Have The Group Destiny’s Child And Take Beyoncé Out And Still Think You Have Destiny’s Child”

NeNe Leakes explains why she believes The Real Housewives of Atlanta is not the same without her, slamming the quality of the series, saying it’s like having Destiny’s Child without Beyoncé. 

“It’s very difficult to go to the burger place down the street and think you’re going to get a Happy Meal,” she told Hollywood Unlocked, according to The Sun. “I mean, McDonald’s started the Happy Meal, it’s very hard to, in a very nice way, go somewhere and think that you can fill the shoes of something that someone started.”

The mother-of-two added that the Bravo hit reality series hasn’t been very exciting because the current cast members either aren’t risk takers, boring or over the top.

Leakes said she believes viewers can see through all of that and could tell that she was real, unlike some of her former co-stars.

NeNe then compared herself to Beyoncé. “It’s kind of hard to have the group Destiny’s Child and take Beyoncé out and still think you have Destiny’s Child,” she said. “It’s kind of difficult to do that. You know what I mean? It’s kind of like, No…no. I want Beyonce.”
In September 2020, Leakes announced via her YouTube channel that she would not be returning to RHOA for season 13 after months of contract negotiations.

“Thank you to all of you guys that have been showing me a lot of love and support as of late. I feel you, I hear you. I have been on an extremely, extremely long, exhausting, tiring, emotional negotiation,” Leakes revealed on Thursday, September 17. “There’s been a lot of emotion flying from both sides. It has been hard, and I have made the very hard and very difficult decision to not be a part of ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta,’ Season 13. It wasn’t an easy decision for me. It was hard.”

“It wasn't an easy decision for me,” she continued. “It was hard. I started on The Real Housewives of Atlanta in 2008. We took off like a rocket. I mean, we took off. You could have never told me that I would start on this little show and it still be going strong 13, 14 years later. And it is. I'm just so happy that I can say that I was a part of a genre that opened up doors for Black ensemble reality shows to step up and be a part of what we all now love so much, reality TV,” Leakes said.

She went on to thank anyone who has ever “looked up” to her, her production company, and Bravo for “all the memories, the laughs, the tears.”

She also addressed a false report of someone on her team releasing a statement on her behalf last week. “I have no knowledge of it, I didn’t approve it.”

“When something is this important and this near and dear to my heart, I always want to be the person to address you.”

She ended her message by saying, “I will see you again real soon,” possibly teasing her return to the small screen.

In a statement to PEOPLE, a Bravo rep said, “We wish Nene all the best in her future endeavors and thank her for sharing her journey for over a decade with the fans of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. She's been instrumental since the start and will truly be missed, and maybe one day she'll hold the peach again.”

Since announcing her exit from RHOA she has fallen out with Andy Cohen and Wendy Williams for discussing her departure on WWHL. After Williams said that Leakes like “attention” and that a NeNe spinoff would be “boring.” Leakes fired back and accused Williams of doing cocaine while accusing Cohen of being a racist. Leakes also has claimed that Bravo “forced” her out from RHOA. 

NeNe, who is one of the original five cast members, joined the show when she series made its debut in 2008. She appeared on the show for seven seasons. In season 8 she left but made several appearances in the second half of the season including the reunion. She took a break during season 9, only to return for seasons 10-12.


Photo Credit: Bravo/NBCUniversal