NeNe Leakes is not returning to RHOA for season 9 — but she says Kim Zolciak-Biermann might be there in her place
While visiting PEOPLE Now on Thursday with her Fashion Police cohosts Melissa Rivers and Brad Goreski, the 48-year-old reality star confirmed that she will not be returning to the show that made her famous for it’s upcoming ninth season.
But in her place might be another old face… original Atlanta Housewife Kim Zolciak-Biermann!
Leakes said the 38-year-old Don’t Be Tardy star will step out of her Bravo spinoff to make some visits to RHOA again.
“I heard once they couldn’t work their deal out with me, they went to Kim Zolciak,” Leakes confessed – assuring host Jeremy Parsons that she wasn’t being shady. “I’m just telling you the truth!”
She explained she had told RHOA producers she did not want to be a full-time Housewife or supporting “friend of the Housewives” – instead asking to guest on the show in special appearances from time to time.
“When we couldn’t work the deal out on me making appearances, then they went to Kim to work the same thing, I suppose,” Leakes said. “I’m assuming she took it.”
If Zolciak-Bermann does return, it’ll be her first appearance since season 5 – when she stormed out of a lunch with Leakes, Cynthia Bailey, Phaedra Parks, Kandi Burruss, Porsha Williams, and Kenya Moore in anger.
All ladies are expected to return for season 9 – and all have varying relationships with Zolciak-Bermann. Bailey and Parks have each argued with the mother of six. Burruss, meanwhile, pulled Zolciak-Bermann into a legal battle after falling out over royalties involved in Zolciak-Bermann’s short-lived music career.
Moore and Williams were only a few episodes into their first season when Zolciak-Bermann left the show, so there’s no telling whether they’d be considered friends or foes.
But does Leakes think Zolciak-Bermann will do better with the girls this time around?
“I think it’s going to be really odd,” she admits. “Kim hadn’t been around the show for a while. It’s going to be odd having Kim back. But I think the fans want to see her though.”
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Zolciak-Bermann will have one ally amongst the ladies: fellow original Housewife Shereé Whitfield. Leakes said the 46-year-old She by Shereé mogul is getting an upgrade to full-time Housewife again after making her triumphant return to the franchise last season in a “friend of the Housewives” role.
“I heard they let Shereé hold a peach now,” Leakes dished, suggesting Whitfield would appear in the show’s opening credits – a position only held for full-time cast members.
If she follows in Whitfield’s footsteps, perhaps Zolciak-Bermann will find herself in that spot soon enough.
Season 9 of The Real Housewives of Atlanta is expected to premiere sometime this fall.