‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’ is an American reality television series created for the Bravo network, and is the third of several productions among the instalments of the ‘The Real Housewives’ franchise. It followed the success established by the housewives of Orange County and New York City series’, and like its predecessors, it follows the personal and professional lives of selected women.
Since ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’s’ popular reception, even more instalments made it to air, which includes series filmed in Miami, Beverly Hills, Dallas, Washington DC, and Salt Lake City. ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’ made its debut in October of 2008, and as the title suggests, it documents the intrigue and drama of rich housewives living in Atlanta, Georgia.
Since its creation, the show has reached thirteen seasons, edging ever closer to the 300 episode milestone. Throughout the twelve years of its filming, several women’s lives have been featured.
As the seasons passed, many of its stars moved on to other shows, while some were fired or removed from the show for various reasons. Among the original cast featured in the earliest seasons, fans and viewers would especially remember the iconic appearances of NeNe Leakes and Kim Zolciak.
The current cast features Kandi Burruss, Cynthia Bailey, Kenya Moore, Drew Sidora, and Porsha Williams, with a couple of guest appearances by friends of the permanent cast, and of course their romantic partners. In 2014, ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’ became the most-watched series airing on Bravo, so achieving status as the most popular instalment among the ‘Real Housewives’ franchise. It received a favourable response from both critics and viewers, who called it a guilty pleasure that many people seem to enjoy. However, since then, the show has endured scrutiny after allegations of a fabricated storyline surfaced, which one has to say is far from unusual in ‘reality’ series.
#RHOA Season 13, Episode 9 airs NEXT SUNDAY 8/7c on @BravoTV. pic.twitter.com/aGNvlAMmaM
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As a direct result of leaked information supplied by one of the stars, the show’s ratings dropped dramatically, yet not before it enjoyed critical acclaim. Due to the show’s popularity, several of its stars even received their own shows, and it’s inspired a number of spin-offs, which include ‘Kandi’s Wedding’, ‘I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding’, ‘The Kandi Factory’, and Kim’s ‘Don’t Be Tardy’.
Despite its continued popular reception, many fans remain sceptical about the reality of the show, especially because evidence exists that supports viewers’ suspicions. However, it’s not the only secret, or surprising fact kept quiet about ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’. As with many reality shows, there are certain things the producers would not want viewers to know, but that does not mean that they can keep quiet about it forever. Aside from keeping secrets, the show has also been host to questionable content, and its fair share of drama.
It’s a Hard Life
Contrary to the show’s original concept, which focuses on documenting the lives of the rich and/or the famous housewives of a dedicated area, the majority of Atlanta’s housewives featured in the earliest seasons were not exactly affluent enough to appear on the show.
When the series first aired in 2008, a gossip website known as ‘Jezebel’ did some digging into the lives of the stars featured back then. What they discovered caused a major controversy that questioned the true reality of the show. According to the website, four of the five housewives faced financial difficulties, and some of them even struggled just to get by.
The website specifically named NeNe Leakes, Kim Zolciak, Sheree Whitfield and Lisa Wu as the ones struggling. At the time, the public was mostly aware of Kim’s financial struggles, yet as time passed, people would also learn of NeNe’s dark past, and the drastic measures she took to ameliorate her financial instability.
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Of course, since the show grew in popularity, so did the personal ventures of the stars, ensuring that their financial problems came to an end. When filming began, Kim’s husband, the professional American Football player Kroy Biermann, faced professional difficulties after losing his spot on the New York Buffalo Bills. Although they got by, the family of eight didn’t live as luxuriously as some of the other households.
NeNe’s Criminal Past
While NeNe currently enjoys the many benefits of living a wealthy life, mostly due to the financial gain of appearing in ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’, things were not always as rosy for the reality television personality and actress. Since her claim to fame through the series, NeNe has made appearances in Fox’s comedy ‘Glee’, and NBC’s ‘The New Normal’, surprising even her most dedicated fans with her exceptional talent as an actress.
She played the role of the Cheerios coach, Roz Washington, in ‘Glee’ for three years from 2012 to 2015, and performed fairly well in her recurring role as Rocky Rhodes in ‘The New Normal’. Previously, she had resorted to drastic measures to stay afloat.
In 1992, according to history dug up by numerous gossip writers, NeNe appeared in court on charges filed against her ‘phone company that included theft of services, a legal term applied to a variety of unlawful means used by customers to obtain the services provided by companies, considered a criminal act by any standard judicial system. These means include obtaining services through false identity, by force or threats, with customers not providing the required compensation in return for the services.
Most of the details concerning NeNe’s case remain obscure, but it was not the only time police arrested the reality diva. Following the primary incident, NeNe faced three more individual charges for violating her probation agreement.
As mentioned, after certain details came to light, a lot of speculation about the show’s reality surfaced. What might be most surprising to fans and viewers is the fact that one of the show’s stars leaked the evidence which started all the speculation.
In 2014, NeNe shared sensitive information on her Twitter account, but shortly after the producers and fans discovered it, NeNe was forced to remove the tweet. In the tweet, NeNe shared a screenshot of a text message conversation she shared with her good friend and co-star, Cynthia Bailey. Their conversation included a discussion about how their on-screen fight is supposed to go down, and how they agreed to slander each others’ husbands.
This proved that they’d staged their encounter in the sixth season, so fans began asking more questions out of concern that everything about the show might be fake. Despite removing the tweet, NeNe could not undo the damage, and the show suffered a decrease in viewer interest.
It may also have become the reason why the producers removed NeNe from the show, as in the eighth season aired in 2015, NeNe only appeared as a guest, and the following season she disappeared completely.
Despite claiming that NeNe took time off from ‘The Real Housewives’ to focus on her acting career, one can’t help but wonder if her leak on Twitter landed her in trouble with the show’s creators. It might only be speculation, but it certainly seems as if they grew tired of NeNe’s diva antics. However, since Leakes had always been a fan favourite, NeNe returned for the filming of seasons ten to twelve.
What Else Is Fake?
With NeNe’s leaked information fresh on everyone’s mind, fans began investigating every possible aspect of the show that could be fake. Although they couldn’t find more controversial evidence, they did discover that not everything is quite what it seems. As it turned out, the producers executed a lot of influence at the reunion specials of every season, intentionally causing more conflict than would have naturally taken place.
The reunions tend to supply more drama and entertainment than the rest of the season, and in all honesty, it is what most viewers and fans look forward to every year. Naturally, this is what the producers and creators of ‘The Real Housewives’ want, and to achieve it, they plan the reunions weeks ahead of time.
The questions posed to the housewives are not just randomly selected, but instead undergo meticulous consideration. Producer Andy Cohen, who is responsible for creating the drama of each reunion, carefully collects information from every episode, and combines it with the most popular and intriguing questions posed by fans, ensuring that the conversation would lead to dramatic conclusions.
To add to the rising tension, the producers also subject the ladies to selected video clips from the season, hoping that certain highlighted moments of each episode will guide the conversation.
The conflict and resulting fights between the housewives may not be exactly fake, but considering that they’re under the guided influence of the producers, it might unfortunately ruin the quality of its reality for certain viewers.
‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’ might be the most popular series in the franchise, but despite its favourable reception with both fans and critics, the show and its cast are not immune to negative comments.
In November of 2014, the show caused major up-sets among the African-American communities, especially among women, who responded with negative comments about the show following the conflict and ensuing fight between Kenya Moore and Porsha Williams at that year’s reunion special.
Their biggest concern with the show was the image of black women in general that ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’ attempts to sell to their audience, claiming that it tends to push towards the stereotypical ‘angry black woman’.
Dream and REALISTIC cast for season 14! 😍🔥 #RHOA pic.twitter.com/gxriaHSGNL
— RHOA + RHOP (@rhoaxrhop) February 6, 2021
In support of the community, a website identified as TheRoot.com, approached the producers of the show, telling them that they should take responsibility for the impact their show creates on the impressionable minds of their viewers.
They further suggested that the producers should rather attempt different manipulations that do not rely on one-dimensional, unfair and sometimes degrading depictions of African-American women to produce quality entertainment. To further prove just how dissatisfied African-American women are with the show, NeNe received harsh criticism after appearing on the cover of the popular ‘Ebony’ Magazine.
As part of their ‘Money and Power’ issue, ‘Ebony’ magazine featured NeNe on the cover under the title ‘NeNe Leakes Gets Her Hollywood Hustle On’, depicting her with a glass of champagne, bathing in diamonds. Instead of receiving a positive reception, as the publishers may have hoped, fans were outraged with some leaving derogatory comments. One comment asked if ‘Ebony’ couldn’t find anyone better, while another called NeNe a ‘Donkey with Diamonds’.
In response to the negative comments, NeNe declared herself more than worthy of appearing on the magazine’s cover, saying she absolutely deserves it.
Throughout her appearances on ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’ Kim has received a lot of negative attention because of her allegedly poor parenting choices; she appeared on the show from season one, ending her involvement at the completion of the fifth season to pursue her solo career in reality television, with the creation of ‘Don’t Be Tardy’, which follows her life as a mother of six children.
However, due to two separate incidents, people started questioning how good a mother she really is. The first incident involved her oldest daughter, Brielle, and another incident occurred with the family’s dog and one of her youngest sons. In a video posted on Kim’s Snapchat account, which seemed to address Khloe Kardashian and the news of her pregnancy, Kim told Brielle, who was twenty years old at the time, to show Khloe how big her breasts are going to be during pregnancy.
Brielle did as her mother commanded, flashing Kim’s Snapchat followers which caused mass outrage among those who saw the video. Of course she has since deleted the video, but it couldn’t save Kim from the negative comments left by fans. Among other things, fans called Kim a disgraceful woman guilty of pimping out her daughter, and others called her a bad mother.
As if that wasn’t enough, sometime later the family dog attacked one of her younger sons. The exact circumstances remain a mystery, but Kim shared the news on social media, stating that her son could lose the sight of one eye. Fortunately, he healed perfectly, but the incident caused even more doubt about her parenting ability. At least, Kim and her husband did the humane thing by keeping the dog and reuniting their son and the family pooch through therapy.
The ladies of ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’ are no strangers to heartbreak nor controversial romances, and throughout the years fans have witnessed many men come and go in their lives. To no real surprise, there seem to be some hidden secrets concerning the ladies’ romantic endeavours. One of these includes former housewife, Phaedra Parks’ fake boyfriend claims.
For some time, Parks continuously dropped hints about dating ‘Criminal Minds’ actor, Shemar Moore, but in an interview with ‘E! News’, Moore revealed the truth, stating that he was happily single and enjoying bachelorhood. He also said that he hadn’t seen her since they appeared together on ‘Watch What Happens Live Together’. Why Parks would make up these false hints, though, remains a mystery. Perhaps she attempted to recover her dignity after her now ex-husband, Apollo Nida, committed identity fraud. Nida is currently serving an eight-year sentence in prison.
Another secret recently uncovered suggested that Sheree Whitfield dated a man who spent time behind bars. According to Whitfield, she never knew that her boyfriend, Tyrone Gilliams, was on trial, but apparently he committed a minor offence and only served a short sentence. Whitfield revealed to ‘People’ magazine that his sentence only brought them closer together, and that she forgave him his indiscretion.
If you think that you might be the only one who enjoys watching ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’, even as a secret guilty pleasure, then you are in for a surprise. The show not only won over the masses at home, but has apparently also gained a following among celebrities.
Several famous faces admitted that they watch and follow the lives of the housewives, who include Regina King, Beyonce, Naomi Campbell, Chrissy Teigen, Jonah Hill, P Diddy, and the matchmaker, Patti Stanger, as well as the self-confessed reality television addict, Jennifer Lawrence.
Family is forever ❤️ Happy Holidays from Kandi and the entire #RHOA family!
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However, even among the stars, there are critics who haven’t been swept up by the show’s popularity, which includes film director, Spike Lee, who speaks openly against the show. According to him, ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’ is the destruction of the modern world.
This list also includes Usher’s ex-wife, Tameka Foster, who according to rumours, would have joined the cast in 2009. However, during an interview with ‘E! News’, Foster revealed that the producers did ask her in 2008, but she declined their offer. For the better part, Tameka did not like the idea of cameras following her everyday life, and certainly had no interest in being part of all the exaggerated drama.
With the latest season back on track following the delay caused by the global pandemic, we hope you keep tuned to all the drama and intrigue of ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’, regardless of the controversies uncovered here. We know it is one of those guilty pleasures fans enjoy, and do hope that we haven’t spoilt it for you.