A big mystery about what caused NeNe Leakes and Cynthia Bailey's latest friendship fallout was solved on Sunday's The Real Housewives of Atlanta finale

By Dave Quinn
March 31, 2019 09:00 PM

NeNe Leakes made headlines earlier this month when she announced on Instagram Live that she was no longer friends with Cynthia Bailey.

She claimed that the model was “sneaky and underhanded” and had “lied and lied and lied,” promising fans would see proof in the season finale of The Real Housewives of Atlanta.

Well, that episode finally aired on Sunday, and Bailey certainly didn’t look too good when a microphone caught her seemingly trying to cover up the fact that she had plotted to bring Leakes’ rival Kenya Moore back on the show without Leakes’ knowledge.

“I’m supposed to act like I didn’t know Kenya was coming,” Bailey, 52, whispered to boyfriend Mike Hill while at the launch event for her Seagram’s Escapes’ Peach Bellini signature drink.

Moore, 48 — who joined RHOA in season 5 and left after season 10, reportedly due to messy contract negotiations — had appeared to surprise Bailey at the event, showing up with Housewife Kandi Burruss. “Now Cynthia, you said you wanted Kenya here and here she is,” Burruss, 42, said as she brought Moore in.

Bailey acted shocked to see Moore there. But while talking to Burruss off-camera after the event, she was again caught covering things up. “I just want to make sure we was on the same page, setting up how Kenya got here,” Bailey told Burruss, who repeatedly warned Bailey, “I’m mic’d, I’m mic’d , I’m mic’d , I’m mic’d.”

NeNe Leakes, Kenya Moore and Cynthia Bailey
| Credit: D Dipasupil/Getty; Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic; Santiago Felipe/WireImage

This all became a big problem for Leakes, especially after she watched the episode in advance.

Blasting Bailey on social media, Leakes, 50, promised their friendship was over for good. “I don’t have no hate in my heart for Cynthia,” Leakes said. “We are coworkers from this day forward. I don’t have any reason not to speak to her, I’m happy to not speak to her. I’m happy to speak to her. But anything else further than that, it’s not going to happen. No. We are coworkers.”

She later unfollowed many of her other RHOA castmates on social media — including Burruss, who had also tried to cover for Bailey by insisting she didn’t know Moore was coming.

NeNe Leakes and Cynthia Bailey
| Credit: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

On the finale, Leakes seemed just as mad as she sat down to confront Bailey for having Moore at her event.

“You don’t call your sister and tell her? You didn’t think that was as big of an issue?” Leakes said. “[I’m] your sister who you are really with. This is the sister you talk to five or 10 times a day. You don’t do that to her!”

Adding to Leakes’ anger was the fact that Bailey had seemed to support Moore, even when Moore did negative things to Leakes — like knock her on social media. During a game of “Call, Text or Delete,” Moore said that she would “Delete NeNe.” Leakes was also one of the only cast members not invited to Moore’s baby shower in October.

“You have not been the same friend to me that you are to your other friends,” Leakes told Bailey, referencing Moore. “You other friend started a lot of stuff. Why did you never address her about that? … You have to be neutral. You’re not neutral. … When she started her thing in the press, you never stood up for me.”

NeNe Leakes and Cynthia Baiely
| Credit: Bravo (2)

Bailey thought she was staying neutral.

“Whatever you and Kenya have going on, that’s between you and Kenya. If you guys don’t get along, I have nothing to do with it,” Bailey told Leakes. “I don’t play the social media thing. She does it, you do it. When we went to her shower, you were making little comments or whatever. That’s what you do. … I refuse to be in the middle again.”

But she also made the mistake of lying to Leakes, insisting over and over again that she didn’t know Moore was coming — even though the hot mic moment earlier in the episode appeared to show otherwise.

“I never knew if Kenya was going to come or not until Kenya walked in the door. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal,” Bailey said. “You were clearly irritated about the shower. The last thing I want to do is tell you that Kenya’s going and her not even show up to even go down that road.”

“This is my event, NeNe,” Bailey said. “This was my event. I can invite anybody to my event! The only thing I wanted was for my friends to come on my night. But I didn’t think for one second that you couldn’t be big enough to be in a room with Kenya.”

NeNe Leakes, Cynthia Bailey and Kenya Moore on RHOA season 10
| Credit: Bravo

Eventually, Bailey apologized to Leakes for both not telling Leakes about Moore’s invitation and letting Moore make a speech at the party (something Bailey also claimed she didn’t know would happen).

“I’m sorry about not giving you a heads up… I was wrong,” Bailey said on the RHOA finale. “I am your friend. You know that I love you. I would do anything for you … I should have told you and I will be neutral. It will not happen again. I am here for you.”

Though Leakes accepted Bailey’s apology, it was clear she thought what Bailey did was unforgivable. “[Cynthia] just made me see her in a different light and the light is dim,” said Leakes. “I’m really afraid our friendship will end forever.”

This isn’t the first time Leakes and Bailey have had a falling out. The two were close allies when Bailey joined the Bravo reality show back in 2010 but had an argument during the filming of RHOA‘s sixth season (which aired in 2013 and 2014). They didn’t reconcile until years later.

“No matter what, I love NeNe,” Bailey told audiences on Sunday’s episode. “The good, the bad, the ugly, the ups, the downs. I am her friend and I will always be here for her.”

The Real Housewives of Atlanta airs Sundays (8 p.m. ET) on Bravo.