The door is closed — again — on NeNe Leakes and Cynthia Bailey's friendship

By Dave Quinn
April 07, 2019 10:27 PM
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NeNe Leakes and Cynthia Bailey opened up about their strained friendship before even making it to the Real Housewives of Atlanta season 11 reunion couches.

Getting ready to come face-to-face, the two Atlanta Housewives opened up backstage about what’s torn them apart — both making it clear that they were no longer the close pals they used to be.

Their problems began on the RHOA season 11 finale episode, when former Housewife (and Leakes’ nemesis) Kenya Moore showed up at a party Bailey was throwing. Though Bailey had invited Moore, she never told Leakes about it beforehand since Moore declined. But costar Kandi Burruss convinced Moore to come. And a hot mic moment that captured Bailey appearing to cover things up later left Leakes feeling as though Bailey and Burruss had plotted to take her down.

“I thought we were real friends,” Leakes, 50, said on Sunday’s RHOA reunion of Bailey. “I thought we were sisters. And betrayal is the most hurtful thing.”

“She is no longer a friend in any capacity in my life, ever,” Leakes added. “I knew she was slick. It’s like having a best friend whose like, jealous of you. Why would you want to plot to bring your good friend down?”

NeNe Leakes and Cynthia Bailey
Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty (2)

For her part, Bailey, 52, was shocked to see the negative things Leakes had said about her on the RHOA finale.

“I was very surprised by a lot of things she had to say. Because I feel like, at the end of the day, she’s really my friend in my mind,” Bailey told Andy Cohen, as he visited her backstage. “I feel like I have been nothing but supportive. I just feel like it’s not reciprocal.”

“I’ve tried to be a good friend to her and I’m just tired,” added Bailey. “It’s going to be hard.”

Andy Cohen (center) with the cast of The Real Housewives of Atlanta at the season 11 reunion
Annette Brown/Bravo

Though it certainly appeared that Bailey and Burruss had conspired on the reunion, both have denied that since — explaining that their hot mic moments were nowhere near as deceitful as they appeared on television.

“I saw the last episode, I can tell you for a fact that I never told Cynthia that Kenya was coming,” Burruss assured Cohen backstage on Sunday’s episode. “[Cynthia] did not know that Kenya was coming. I’m not going to just do some conspiracy. One thing about me, I’m not going to make up some s—. I don’t do that.”

Leakes was unconvinced. “They have all got together and plotted, Kandi too,” Leakes said, while talking on the phone to Marlo Hampton. “I told you they were in an alliance!”

NeNe Leakes and Cynthia Bailey
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Since the RHOA reunion filming in March, Leakes and Bailey have remained estranged.

In an Instagram Live, Leakes said she was no longer friends with Bailey, claiming that the model was “sneaky and underhanded,” had “lied and lied and lied,” and that 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.

Cynthia Bailey and NeNe Leakes
Charles Sykes/Bravo

Meanwhile, Bailey sounded off about Leakes while appearing on an episode of Burruss’ Speak On It YouTube series.

“I’ve been a great friend to NeNe for years. To a fault, at this point. I’ve always been a loyal friend to NeNe when we were friends,” Bailey said. “I’m tired. I can’t do anything else. What do you want, the blood out of my veins? I don’t know what else to do! If she wants to fall out about this, which I think is petty as hell — if she don’t want to try to get back on track, which I think is really sad and disappointing — then that’s on her. I’m not going to do anything else but own my part of it or truth on it.”

“You’ve never seen me in the whole season saying anything negative about NeNe,” Bailey continued. “All I’ve done is support her, especially since her husband’s battling cancer. There’s no reason for me to betray her! I have been completely solid with our friendship. But you do see her going in on me because she thinks what she thinks. It doesn’t work like that. If you’re friends with somebody, be grown enough to say, ‘Let’s meet for a drink, we gotta talk.’ Friendship works both ways. I’m a huge believer in reciprocity. You got to reciprocate the energy I’m giving out.”

Bailey added: “We don’t have to be friends, it’s not a hostage situation. I’m not holding nobody hostage to be my friend over here. I come in peace, love and light. But if we’re real friends, let’s move past it because we’re such real friends.”

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