Candiace Dillard explains that although the incident happened nearly a year ago, it's still "traumatic"

By Robyn Merrett
October 02, 2020 04:27 PM
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Candiace Dillard says it's "too late" for Monique Samuels to feel remorseful about their brutal brawl that aired on Sunday's episode of The Real Housewives of Potomac.

"All of a sudden you're sorry?" Dillard, 33, tells PEOPLE of Samuels, 36, who expressed that she would have gone about the situation differently.

On the Sept. 29 episode of Bravo's The Daily Dish podcast, Samuels insisted that the physical altercation between her and Dillard, which saw what appeared to be Samuels dragging Dillard by the hair and hitting her on the head, was not "premeditated."

"I just want the fans to know that this wasn't something that was premeditated; this was something that was based off of energy returned," Samuels said, adding that she wishes "none of it ever happened" and that she would have just decided to "walk away."

However, Dillard isn't buying it.

Candiace Dillard, Monique Samuels
| Credit: getty images (2)

"She's been saying as of late since the fight aired, that she wishes she walked away, and it wasn't premeditated. And my response to that is: Where was that energy in July of 2020 when she was writing a song, bragging about this fight?" Dillard tells PEOPLE of Samuels' song "Drag Queens," in which Samuels appears to rap about the fight.

"I don't want people to believe her lies," Dillard says. "Don't allow her the space to now apologize for what she's done or now claim that she wishes it didn't happen."

"You weren't saying that after the fight," Dillard says of Samuels. "All of a sudden you're sorry? You doubled down in July. You can't be sorry now that everybody has seen [the fight]. It's too late for her to be sorry."

Although the incident happened nearly a year ago, Dillard says it's still "traumatic" and she remains "confused" as to why Samuels attacked her.

"I'm not someone who fights physically. My mother never told me that if something happened, I need to fight. My mother told me to use my words and I will obliterate you — I own up to that — and I think what happened was Monique couldn't take it," she says.

(Samuels and Dillard were facing second-degree assault charges over the incident, but all charges were dropped by the Montgomery County State's Attorney's Office.)

Karen Huger, Monique Samuels and Candiace Dillard
| Credit: candice dillard/instagram

"I think part of my anxiety has been trying to figure it out and not understanding. I don't know how to explain what it feels like to have that kind of confusion around someone physically attacking you," Dillard continues.

Samuels set the record straight about the actual rumor that severed her friendship with Dillard, saying on The Daily Dish podcast that an ex-friend of hers, along with former Housewife Charisse Jackson Jordan, said that Samuels was "having an affair" with her trainer and that her pregnancy was not with husband Chris Samuels. (Jackson Jordan has denied spreading this gossip.)

(On the season, the original rumor was introduced as Samuels having an affair with her trainer and not anything related to her son.)

She claimed on the podcast that Dillard has known about the rumor all along and still invited Jackson Jordan, 55, to her anniversary party.

However, Dillard tells PEOPLE that Samuels had already known about the rumors long before her anniversary party and claims Samuels had seen Jackson Jordan prior to the event and was friendly towards her.

RELATED: Monique Samuels Shades Castmates for Running to Confessional Instead of Confronting Problems

"If me having Charisse around was such an issue, why was she able to, two months prior to my party, stand next to Charrisse and hug her at Ashley Darby's baby shower? Now all of a sudden at my party, it's an issue? It's just another spin. These rumors are two years old. Why are they becoming an issue now? There have been plenty opportunities for her to come to me. I would have told her, 'No, I was not spreading rumors about her family. The things I've heard you knew because I wrote a statement to give to her lawyers so she could present a cease and desist to the person who started the rumors," Dillard explains.

According to Samuels, she has not been "friendly" with Jackson Jordan.

"At Ashley's baby shower, I never held any conversation. I posed for a group picture with her and that was the extent of it," Samuels tells PEOPLE. "I've known about these lies for two years and so has the group of women. I've tried to be cordial with the women to not bring the real lies to the television screen since they involved my innocent child. Candiace was the first person to be contacted by my former friend and spoke with her for two hours. Candiace then passed Charrisse's phone number onto that friend and this is when the lies began to spread in this circle. I've held on to this information and it wasn't until Candiace went live on her own Instagram account and exposed this plot — that my youngest son was not my husband's, but my trainer's. Candiace told the ladies she was speaking with that 'that won't fly because Chase looks like Chris' and that they'll have to come up with a different angle. This is how the rumor then switched to the cheating allegations with the trainer, which are all lies."

"We never had any intention of bringing this to the show and did our best to protect our child from these scandalous women — all in an attempt to ruin my character and my marriage. Candiace inviting Charrisse to her anniversary party with cameras around was a welcomed invitation to introduce this nasty plot to the show. None of this is an excuse for the physical altercation. [Candiace] exposed herself and now wants to back track," Samuels says in her statement.

While Dillard admits to PEOPLE that she did slam the rumors and said "Chase looks like Chris," she asserts it only proves she had no involvement in spreading the gossip. She also says she and Samuels even sat down and promised each other that they would always talk out their issues.

"I believed that was going to be how we interacted going forward. I went to visit her when she gave birth to Chase, and I've been to her house at a time after that, so I thought we were good," Dillard says.

Dillard realized that she and Samuels were not on good terms at Ashley Darby's "coming out of the house" dinner earlier this season. Hours prior to the event, Samuels and Gizelle Bryant had lunch, during which Bryant told her that Dillard and Jackson Jordan had become close friends.

"I was very confused by her behavior," Dillard says of Samuels at Darby's dinner. "Monique and I had a text conversation about her lunch with Gizelle. If you were told something about me inviting Charrisse to my party, why wouldn't you bring it up to me when we were talking about your lunch?"

During Darby's dinner, Samuels expressed that she was upset with Dillard. But afterwards — as captured during the episode — Samuels seemed to act like nothing was wrong.

The Real Housewives of Potomac
| Credit: Sophy Holland/Bravo

"She runs over to me and hugs me laughing and says, 'I had to get you girl' and, 'We're going to talk off camera,' and I'm like, 'No.What is this? Are you creating fake drama?' " Dillard says.

Dillard also found it "disgusting" that Samuels discussed the altercation on camera in front of her young daughter, Milani. (As viewers will recall, the day after the incident, Samuels and her husband talked about the fight while filming.)

"How embarrassing that you would speak in front of a child in a way that affirms violence on another Black woman in this year as everything that relates to the Black community is under attack," Dillard tells PEOPLE.

"Her own husband was uncomfortable," Dillard says of Chris Samuels, who told his wife on Sunday's episode that the incident was "embarrassing."

"He was mortified as he should be because he has things to lose. He's the one that has the legacy to uphold," Dillard says of the former NFL star.

Dillard also explains why it's been so important for her to stress that the altercation is a "bad look" for Black women.

"We have to hold ourselves to a certain standard," Dillard says. "I know I don't represent all Black women and that would be an insult to say I do, but the simple fact remains that Black women are still not accurately represented in most spaces — and that includes media and television."

"I applaud Bravo for being committed to expanding diversity, but we are still in a space where there are only two Black ensemble casts," Dillard says of Potomac and The Real Housewives of Atlanta.

"We are celebrating and crossing our fingers that The Real Housewives of New York may get their first Black Housewife," Dillard adds, referencing reports that Bershan Shaw may be joining the cast. "I was overjoyed when Garcelle joined Beverly Hills. It's just so unheard of. It's unheard of us to be in so many places and when we are, a lot of times, that's the only way certain people will even have an interaction with a Black person. Maybe the only place they do see us is on Housewives, and as a result, the way we conduct ourselves is the way they then view us."

Dillard says she and Samuels have not spoken since the altercation, and she doesn't plan to until the RHOP reunion.

"That will be the only time I ever speak with her or allow myself to be around someone like her again. It's only because I want to hear how she's going to finally put the last spin on the lies she's created over the last year," Dillard says.

As Dillard continues to move past the fight, she's found ways to heal through music, acting and furthering her education. Dillard, who graduated from Howard University, is currently back in school at her alma mater, where she is earning an MBA.

Candiace Dillard's "I See You" cover
| Credit: Courtesy of Candiace Dillard

"I always knew I wanted to obtain an advanced degree," Dillard says, adding that going back to school became "the natural next step" amid all of her business ventures. Dillard is the founder and CEO of Candiace Dillard Pageant Consulting, co-founder of Prima Hair Collection by Candiace Dillard, and co-owner of Chateau Salon Suites.

The star is also in the process of recording her EP, which features R&B and rock sounds and influences, after releasing her single, "I See You."

"It's been a nice silver lining of a really crazy year," Dillard says of her music. "To be able to put what I've been through in my music is a blessing. It's been great for healing."

Dillard also just wrapped filming a Christmas movie with BET and will appear on the upcoming season of Netflix's Family Reunion alongside Loretta Devine and Tia Mowry.