NeNe Leakes' RHOA Costars Say Her Friendship with Wendy Williams Is 'Strategic'

"I don't think that is a real friendship — I think that they both are not really being genuine and honest with each other," Kenya Moore said of NeNe Leakes and Wendy Williams

Nene Leakes, Wendy Williams
NeNe Leakes and Wendy Williams. Photo: Manny Carabel/Getty; Gary Gershoff/Getty

NeNe Leakes' friendship with Wendy Williams was called into question on Sunday's Real Housewives of Atlanta virtual season 12 reunion.

While rehashing the drama of the season, some of the Leakes' costars — including Kenya Moore and Kandi Burruss — slammed Leakes, claiming that her bond with Williams was inauthentic.

"I don't think that is a real friendship," Moore said. "I think that they both are not really being genuine and honest with each other."

"Personally, I think NeNe's very strategic with her friendships. The Wendy situation to me, I feel like that's definitely strategic," said Burruss. "Wendy is very beneficial as her friend. She's on a major platform. [NeNe] can feed [Wendy] information so that she can say it to the people and so that it favors NeNe. So it's easy for me to see why she doesn't want that friendship to go totally under the bridge."

Williams, 55, came up when Andy Cohen asked Leakes, 52, if the two were still on good terms.

Last month, Williams slammed Leakes on her self-titled syndicated daytime talk show after Leakes attempted to FaceTime Williams for a chat on Instagram Live.

Though Williams had appeared on RHOA earlier this season in a speakerphone chat with Leakes, Williams said she had no intention to be put on display that way again.

"You know I don't have face or time for FaceTime, period," Williams said on her show. "If I don't do it for my own parents of the show, why would I be doing it for someone over there? I like NeNe, but she's still an over-there person to me."

"I made it very clear, I am not a Housewife," Williams stressed. "Sorry, my career is a bit … different … than being a Housewife. I don't need that kind of attention. Like, I know I make this look easy and I know I have my ratchet ways, but the fact is I worked 35 years of my life to sit here for 11 seasons ... I'm not slumming for being some add-on out the suitcase for some Housewife. And yeah, for me, that is slumming. For where I am."

Those words spoke volumes to Moore, 49, and Burruss, 43.

"Clearly this woman got online and she was talking about her basically like a dog," Moore said at the reunion, quoting Williams' "that girl over there" line. "She was saying the most degrading things. And if that was someone who is truly your friend, why would she go on her platform and basically say, 'I am Wendy Williams. That is why I am the Queen of Daytime TV. And you don't come for the queen.' She doesn't think anything of you!"

"If anybody else would talk about NeNe like that, she would have went in," Burruss added.

Tanya Sam, a pal of Leakes and Friend of the Housewives, didn't agree.

"I don't think it was that deep," Sam said. "I think it was that she's on a TV show and she said what she had to say. You put a lot on that, but I don't think it was that deep."

But Burruss and Moore stood by their words.

"Wendy said, 'She's an over-there person.' Do you want your friend to say, 'That's an over-there person?'" Burruss asked.

"'That girl over there,' " Moore quoted again.

Leakes and Williams weren't friends for years, only making up and building a relationship last summer

"Why are we fighting?" Williams recalled wondering during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen back in September. "I called her up and was like, 'Look, I don't know what your problem is with me, or me with you, but where are you now? Let's have dinner.' And it was such an easy … such a good conversation."

Since then, they've spent time together when Leakes visits New York City, including lunch and a group shopping trip in early March. But they've hit some bumps along the way — like in January, when Williams claimed on her talk show that Leakes was quitting RHOA and keeping a giant "secret" from the public (both of which Leakes denied).

As for where the two are now, while Williams said on her show they've yet to speak since Leakes' FaceTime attempt, Leakes told Cohen during the reunion she didn't think they had any bad blood.

"I just assume we're in a neutral place, that's all I can tell you," Leakes said of their friendship. "It's just neutral, we're okay. We're okay."

"When Wendy and I got back together, the one thing I said to her is, 'Anything that happens to us, I'm going to come to you. I'm not going on social media.' So with that said, I'm not going to discuss our friendship amongst these girls," Leakes said. "Now, they can say what they feel is strategic and what they don't think is strategic. I don't need Wendy Williams, honey, because you forgot who the f--- I am. I don't need Wendy for anything."

Moore didn't agree. "You're a nobody," she chirped. "Yeah, you need Wendy, you don't have any talent. Hollywood's not calling."

The Real Housewives of Atlanta reunion continues Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on Bravo.

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