NeNe Leakes Severs Friendship With 'Sneaky, Underhanded' RHOA Costar Cynthia Bailey
NeNe Leakes also unfollowed her Real Housewives of Atlanta costars on social media
The Real Housewives of Atlanta star, 51, told fans in a 12-minute rant on her Instagram Live on Wednesday that she no longer considers Bailey a friend.
“Cynthia’s done a lot of stuff in my opinion, [that’s] on the down low and very sneaky and underhanded,” Leakes said. “I’m just telling you the truth. I always just tell you like it is. You don’t like it, you don’t like it and you can just figure it out when you figure it out. She has done a lot of stuff that you all don’t get to see on the show that’s just underhanded, and I always come out looking like the bad guy. She’s done a lot of f—ed up stuff and that’s just for real.”
Reps for Bailey did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment. Apparently, Leakes’ breaking point came during the filming of the RHOA finale, set to air next month.
“Cynthia did something in the finale that just doesn’t work for me. You won’t see everything but I think you will get the point,” Leakes said. “There were some other things… I asked her a lot of stuff and she lied and lied and lied and lied. ‘Til finally, this finale really shows the sneaky, underhanded, Cynthia Bailey.”
While she admitted their parting is “unfortunate,” Leakes said that she wouldn’t have a problem still speaking to Bailey.
“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.”
The two had become 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) that put them at odds. They didn’t reconcile until years later.
Sources tell PEOPLE much of Leakes frustration this time around comes from Bailey’s friendship with former Atlanta Housewife Kenya Moore, who has long been a foe of Leakes.
Moore didn’t return as a cast member this season, but Bailey is said to have brought her to the finale taping — a move that a source said upset Leakes.
“NeNe is all about loyalty,” the insider explained. “That wasn’t loyal to NeNe. And for her, that was it.”
In fact, loyalty was a big problem the last time Leakes and Bailey had a falling out, too. After their fight, Leakes when on What What Happens Live with Andy Cohen to campaign for Bailey’s exit from the series and slam her for being a fair-weather friend.
“She just blows whichever way the wind blows,” Leakes said. “She’s always been cool with me but I’ve never felt like Cynthia put a stamp of approval on it. … when you have a friend and they do something wrong that you don’t like, I don’t think you align yourself with the enemy. I think you said, ‘We were friends. I liked you. You did this and I did not like that.’ But at the end of the day, you’re not going to align yourself with the enemy, [Kenya].”
“It’s not like she’s bringing anything to the show,” Leakes added. “Cynthia will blow whichever way the wind blows. … Girl, bye.”
That upset Bailey.
“I was a very loyal friend to NeNe, but she was never my friend — she was my worst enemy,” Bailey later said on her own visit to WWHL. “For her to go on national television to say those things is just unheard of. So what, we’re not talking anymore. So now this means that all of a sudden I can’t be on the show anymore because you don’t think I should be on the show? NeNe doesn’t control my destiny, God controls my destiny. And I was relevant before the show, I’m relevant on the show, and I will be relevant after the show.”
“It’s about respect and accountability,” Bailey said. “She never thinks she’s wrong about anything and she never wants to admit when she wrong. When it comes to me, there was none.”
The move was motivated by the filming of the RHOA season 11 reunion, which reportedly found Leakes in the hot seat.
“They were all trying to secure [their jobs] ’cause half of them are boring,” Leakes explained on Instagram Live. “A lot of these people, the friends to the show and the couple of other people who are new to the show, they all needed to say something or they needed to really step up and their only way of thinking they could step up was to step to me and make the executives pay them some attention.”
“It’s so crazy to me because these girls come on the show playing checkers. I’m already over here playing chess,” Leakes said. “So it’s so ridiculous to me for all them to like, ‘Let’s all link up together and act like we’re nice’ and stuff. When they really aren’t. And you know, I don’t mind being the villain because my check gets bigger as I become the villain. So it’s okay with me..”
As for unfollowing them on social media? “I don’t have to follow them on social media. It’s not that big of a deal to me. I don’t want to see their s—.”
Leakes also clarified that she hadn’t, in fact, unfollowed Andy Cohen on Instagram, as he previously had thought. The two of them never followed one another, at all she said.
It’s been a tough season for Leakes on RHOA. She’s been open about the struggles she’s been experiencing in her marriage to husband Gregg as he undergoes stage 3 colon cancer treatment, lamenting about her inability to care for him and calling him “mean” and “grouchy” during recovery.
On last week’s episode, she broke down in tears over the pressures the situation had left her feeling. Hours later, she exploded on Burruss and Williams for attempting to peek into her bedroom closet during filming despite her repeated requests that they stay out. The scene got so out of control that Leakes ended up grabbing a cameraman who was following them, ripping his shirt in the process.
Sources confirm to PEOPLE that both topics were brought up at the reunion.
“It was an intense day of filming,” one source on the scene says, explaining the issue of Gregg seemed to cause the most divide. “Andy asked a lot of fair questions, really grilling NeNe about the way she’s been treating Gregg recently, and the women universally seemed to stand up for Gregg. You could tell she was angry about that. It felt like a betrayal to her.”
“She’s used to being totally in charge and she feels untouchable,” another insider adds, pointing to her closet freakout. “The women don’t normally come after her this hard but in this case, they really felt she was in the wrong. And once NeNe gets mad, she holds a grudge.”
The Real Housewives of Atlanta airs Sundays (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.