Just when Real Housewives of Atlanta fans thought this season couldn’t get any crazier, here comes Apollo Nida’s new fiancée Sherien Almufti to up the OMG-factor.
To catch up: Nida is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to bank fraud and identity theft in May 2014. Before he left, he and estranged wife Phaedra Parks decided to end their seven-year marriage — though their divorce is not yet finalized (more on that later).
While viewers saw Parks and Nida’s relationship end on tense, nearly violent terms, Nida continued to remain close with Burruss and Tucker.
“‘He was like, ‘I wish I was there to support Todd, he’s been so supportive.’ “Almufti said on RHOA, of Nida. “So I’m here.”
“Kandi and Todd have been super supportive since Apollo’s been away,” she added. “I’m extending his presence here to congratulate both of you on this.”
Almufti’s arrival left Burruss, Tucker and the rest of the gang nearly speechless. After all, Tucker had only heard she existed hours earlier — when Nida called him and Peter Thomas (Cynthia Bailey‘s ex) from prison.
“I’ll have my lady come through and support you,” Nida said. “She’s more than cute. Sometimes you gotta upgrade.”
Now that she was there, Burruss and Tucker had some follow-up questions about how she and Nida met. But Almufti — a real estate agent and mother of an 8-year-old daughter — kept mum on the details.
“We found love, let’s put it that way,” she said. “We’ve been actually friends for four years now.”
Asked whether their relationship began before or after Nida went to prison, Almufti didn’t exactly say.
“Wifey wasn’t around, so I was there more than she was,” she said. “I mean, he’s been away for two years. She’s only been there twice. I go often — it’s only 40 minutes away from me.”
It was then that Almufti got a phone call from Nida, who wanted to congratulate his friends on their new business venture himself. “I’m happy for you, Kandi and Todd!” he said. “Appreciate everything y’all been doing for me.”
But Burruss wasn’t too excited about how the situation was playing out.
“Phaedra could have been here tonight,” she said. “She’s going to swear that me and this girl are in cahoots. But I didn’t know this girl was coming up over here. I did not know! Keep your girlfriends. I don’t want to be involved in this because it’s only just going to cause more drama.”
“I’m just going to keep it real with you,” she told told Nida. “I always thought you were a cool person. And of course us being cool with you has obviously turned into a whole bunch of drama with me and Phaedra. But at the same time, I feel awkward meeting your girlfriend — even thought you’re nice — y’all are just getting divorced. So it makes me seem like I’m trying to be messy.”
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Nida defended himself though. “I don’t care about the relationship you have with Phaedra,” he said. “That has nothing to do with me and Sherien. I’m telling you from my mouth, that’s my baby. I’m a one-woman man. The paperwork is in. We’re getting a divorce.”
Getting a divorce — as in, have not finalized a divorce, as Parks has previously told her fellow Housewives (and, for what it’s worth, PEOPLE).
“We have a court date coming up in a couple of days, but she’s not divorced,” Nida explained, when asked to clarify. “I’m in litigation right now.”
“It’s been really nasty, you know?,” he told Tucker and Thomas earlier. “When Phaedra came up here to visit me, she told me everything was put on hold ’cause maybe deep down inside she might not want a divorce. Then I got served the divorce papers saying she went ahead and proceeded forward. They’re trying to rule in her favor — I’m trying to fight that.”
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He also alleged that Parks was trying to trick him. “I want what’s rightfully mine,” he said. “We can go to divorce court trial, lay it all out on the table. S— is gonna get real ugly. She’s been playing me for who knows how long. And when I think about it, I don’t feel like she really loved me anyway. This is not how you treat someone that you love.”
Fighting the divorce judgement seemed to work for Nida. On Friday, Parks’ rep confirmed to PEOPLE that a judge had tossed Parks and Nida’s divorce judgement, saying that the reality star was reviewing her options regarding her next steps.
“It’s very confusing why a man who is engaged and enjoys frequent visits with his fiancée would work so aggressively to avoid ending his marriage,” Parks’ rep said. “Regardless, Phaedra is reviewing her options with her attorney to determine the most efficient path toward ending this marriage so she can move forward and focus on raising strong, healthy and happy children.”
Despite what was happening with Nida, Parks said Sunday she was just trying to stay focused on the well-being of their sons — Ayden, 6, and Dylan, 3.
“I’m just hoping my ex-husband and I can make sure that we do what’s always in the best interest of our boys,” she said. “My first priority is to be a great mom. He has not always done things in the best interest of our children. We’re going to have to co-parent. So I just want him to have that same level of respect for them as children. And bring around people who are decent and have some form of moral standards, you know?”
The Real Housewives of Atlanta airs Sundays (8 p.m. ET) on Bravo.