The Real Housewives of Atlanta is back, and O.G. housewife Shereé Whitfield has herself a new man  

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November 03, 2017 04:19 PM

The Real Housewives of Atlanta is back, and O.G. housewife Shereé Whitfield has herself a new man — and even though her boyfriend Tyrone Gilliams is currently in federal prison for an alleged white collar crime, Whitfield, 47, says he’s her “best friend.”

“You know what, honestly, I’ve gotten to know this man on a much deeper level,” she told PEOPLE Now. “Probably deeper than I’ve ever known anyone. We have nothing but time to talk and get to know each other.”

“He’s a good guy and, you know, he supports me. I can talk to him about anything. He’s my best friend,” she continued. “He just got caught up in the wrong craziness, and hopefully he’ll be back soon.”

She also seemed to think that some of the other Housewives could learn a thing or two from their relationship.

Discussing how a lack of communication had been a problem in previous relationships, Whitfield said, “Here, it’s only communication. So that’s why a lot of these marriages and relationships don’t last, because they’re not stimulating each other’s minds.”

Tyrone Gilliams (left) and Shereé Whitfield.
Khloe Kardashian/Snapchat

Asked about how returning cast member NeNe Leakes took the news of her new relationship, Whitfield said, “You know, she was definitely very shocked, but she says she doesn’t have a problem with it.”

“She says she’s fine, but then, you know, you really watch to watch to see, because I don’t know, I get mixed signals,” she continued. “She tells me that she’s fine with it, and maybe she’s telling the other girls something else.

Whitfield also discussed what it was like to tell her children— Kairo Whitfield, 20, and Kaleigh Whitfield, 17 — about the abusive relationship she had had with their father — Bob Whitfield, which she discussed for the first time during least season’s reunion.

The couple, who divorced in 2007 after seven years of marriage and 14 years together, have spent the last decade or so involved in legal and emotional squabbles.

“It was very hard, you know. You want your kids to always think that you’re great and the things that you tell your kids not to do … I did,” Whitfield told PEOPLE Now. “So it was very embarrassing, and I felt like I let them down.”

“I never would had addressed the issues had they not come up during taping [the season],” Whitfield continued. “I’ve kind of buried that part of my past for years — for at least 10 years — so for me to talk about it, and for it to empower so many people, that made me feel good. Honestly, it was like a weight lifted off my shoulders.”

“Me speaking and telling my story has enabled other women to speak up and tell their stories and kind of get away. And I’ve also become an ambassador for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence,” she continued.

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

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