On Sunday’s all-new Real Housewives of Atlanta, the 40-year-old Grammy winner broke down over the “baby daddy” drama she’s experienced with ex Russell “Block” Spencer — father to her only daughter and first child, Riley Burruss.
Calling him a “poster boy for deadbeat,” Kandi explained that Spencer had gone “years without checking in” on Riley.
“We really don’t talk,” she said. “I’ve always tried to be open whenever he reach out… [but] I don’t respect him no more.”
She then tearfully revealed to friend Shereé Whitfield that when she first learned she was pregnant with Riley, Spencer called her and said he wasn’t going to have anything to do with her baby.
“I told him that day, ‘That’s fine motherf—–, because you’ll never have to worry about how she is. You’ll need her before she needs you.’ And I meant that s—. I meant it,” Kandi said.
While Kandi told Whitfield she hadn’t tried to interfere with Spencer’s relationship with their daughter, she said that if she was ever truly honest with Riley about what her father had done, she knows their relationship would be even more damaged.
“Even if I can’t stand his punk a– — if he wants her to call him, I make her call him,” she said. “But if I really say the s— that he’s done that she ain’t privy to, that’s gonna hurt my daughter.”
The discussions about Spencer began when his girlfriend, Kris Kelli, made a surprise visit to the Kandi Factory to speak with Kandi about why Riley seems so closed off to her father.
“I know it might seem funny to you for me coming out of the blue like this, but it’s kind of a concern that I’ve been having,” the Jamaican recording artists explained — adding that she’s encouraged Spencer to reach out to Riley more. “I’m really all about families. I would love to see you both come together.”
Though Kandi appreciated Kelli’s sentiment, she explained that her daughter and Spencer haven’t connected on their own. “Riley at a certain point used to reach out to him, and he never really would reach back,” Kandi said. “And she put up this wall… She doesn’t want to deal with it.”
The fact that the two don’t have a relationship isn’t something that makes Kandi happy. In fact, she said it kills her on the inside. “I didn’t have a relationship with my father,” Kandi said. “And I don’t want to see my child go through that.”
Whitfield sympathized with Kandi and Riley. “I didn’t have a relationship with my dad either,” she said. “Little girls — they want their daddies involved. All Riley has is your word to hold on to. So when you don’t show up, that is devastating. It’s sad.”
“Sometimes, I don’t know if these men know how to be good fathers — because they didn’t have that themselves,” she added.
Tucker — who didn’t learn about his daughter Kaela until later in life — encouraged Riley to reconnect with her father. “I think every daughter should know their dad,” he said. “It ain’t about him or Kandi. It’s about Riley. And you’ve got to do what’s best for her at the end of the day.”
But Riley didn’t seem interested in making things work with her dad — even saying in flashbacks that “I don’t really care if I have a dad or not.”
She was less harsh on Sunday’s episode. “I don’t really want to say that I don’t care, but it’s like … they call that ‘void,’ ” she told her mom — using a slang term that implied she was declining the relationship.
“He should be the one [to try to connect with me], not his girlfriend,” she continued.
As for Spencer, he painted a different picture than both his daughter and her mother.
“People don’t know, but I was there when she was born,” the record label owner said. “I mean — even when [Kandi] was saying I wasn’t doing nothing, I was doing something.”
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“If she don’t urge my daughter to call me, I’m not fitting to make you come see me,” he added. “I’m not gonna do that.”
The estrangement really seemed to bother Kelli. “They have shut him out — completely,” she said. “[Kandi] thinks that if she brings Riley around again, he won’t show up.”
“We need a conversation about doing the right thing,” Kelli said.
The Real Housewives of Atlanta airs Sundays (8 p.m. ET) on Bravo.