"It's not what people think it is," NeNe Leakes tells PEOPLE

By Dave Quinn
March 03, 2020 04:50 PM

Wendy Williams made headlines in January when she claimed on her talk show that pal NeNe Leakes was not only quitting The Real Housewives of Atlanta, but also keeping a giant “secret” from the public.

Leakes responded in her own YouTube video, insisting that she was not walking away from the hit Bravo series that catapulted her to fame and made her a household name. But as for that “secret,” she was baffled, telling her followers that she had no idea to what Williams was referring.

All these weeks later, Leakes had gotten the clarification she needs — but don’t expect her to spill the secret.

“I know what she meant, and I will never share it,” Leakes, 52, tells PEOPLE. “I don’t even know why she even made it sound like that. It’s nothing series. It’s not even that serious.”

After Williams’ show, fans speculated that Leakes was privately battling a health issue or having marital problems. But none of that is true.

“It’s not what people think it is,” Leakes says. “People think it’s a health issue, maybe something’s wrong with my kids or my family, but it’s nothing. Everyone’s fine. My husband is fine. My kids are fine. We’re all happy and healthy, so y’all can just stop trying to poke around and figure it out, because it’s not worth your time.”

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NeNe Leakes and Wendy Williams
Gary Gershoff/Getty; Robin Marchant/Getty

RELATED: NeNe Leakes Is Quitting The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Her Friend Wendy Williams Says

Leakes wasn’t happy that her pal ran her mouth, though.

“That was a private conversations and it should have stayed private,” Leakes says. “Honestly, I did text her ‘I quit.’ And she just went right on the show and said, ‘She quit Housewives.’ She don’t know if I quit drinking, quit wearing wigs, quit sleeping with Gregg, the only words I texted her was ‘I quit!’ “

“But Wendy is so funny,” Leakes recalls. “I wasn’t watching that day, and my phone was blowing up with everyone saying, ‘Did I quit?’ And so I called her and Wendy, now let me tell you, she knew immediately she had f—ed up. She was like, ‘Um … what do I need to do? Do I need to call [Andy Cohen]? Do I need to meet you at a restaurant with the camera? I will come on the show to fix this! Are you upset? Please don’t be upset with me!’ “

Luckily, Leakes had a good sense of humor about it. “I said, ‘First of all, I’m not mad with you,’ and she said, ‘Okay, good, okay girl’ and changed the subject so fast. Like it never happened,” Leakes says with a laugh. “She just turned it around!  And I was like, ‘Okay, you have tried it.’ “

The two have remained close since, even shopping together on Sunday while in New York City.

“We have fun together,” Leakes says. “Wendy, that’s my girl. She just gets me.”

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NeNe Leakes

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Leakes has been on RHOA since the show debuted in 2008. Back in season 8, she left to focus on her acting career, booking a series of television roles (GleeThe New Normal, E!’s Fashion Police) in the process. Still, she appeared as a guest that season, skipped season 9 altogether, and then returned in season 10 as a full-time Housewife.

As for her future on RHOA, she insists she’s not going anywhere, despite previously saying that she’s still undecided about returning.

“Look, I quit every week. Those are facts. I quit every week, that’s just what I do,” Leakes says. “It’s stressful, and sometimes you just hit a wall. You’re like, ‘I quit, bye bitch, see you later, I’m done! Call everybody at Bravo. Call your TV sites, I just quit.’ And then they say, ‘Okay girl, go have a drink and call me tomorrow.’ And then you talk to your friends, your circle, your team, everybody, and they tell you all the reasons you shouldn’t quit. They’re all like, ‘Go and read those bitches again and again.’ They tell me all that and I’m like, ‘I guess I should go back!’ So you’re like, ‘I’m back!’ “

“But I’m here for the show being around for a very long time,” she says. “This is a show I built, on these shoulders. These are doors that I opened so that these girls could walk through it. Be very clear about that.”

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

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