Kandi Burruss would be bummed if Nene Leakes decides to exit ‘RHOA,’ she told HollywoodLife in an exclusive interview about the upcoming Season (13)! ‘The Chi’ star weighed in on cast shakeups, as well as the start of filming amid COVID-19 concerns.
Kandi Burruss knows the value Nene Leakes brings to The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Despite their ups and downs, especially when they faced off at the Season 12 reunion, Kandi would love to see Nene return for Season 13 — which the cast recently began filming. “Listen, she and I, we’re like oil and water sometimes, but I definitely would love for her to be back,” Kandi, 44, told HollywoodLife during an exclusive interview on July 19 — while discussing her role in the hit Showtime series, The Chi, airing Sundays at 9 pm.
“I definitely feel like she is a major part of this show,” Kandi said of Nene, 52, who helped launch the show in its November 2012 inception. “I feel like it would suck if she decided not to come back. I feel like why wouldn’t she come back, but I feel like ultimately that is up to her, so we’ll see…. I have not talked to Nene either and I do not know what her plans are, so I don’t know and honestly.”
Rumors about Nene’s future on RHOA have swirled ever since she aired her frustrations with the show at the end of Season 12. Nene expressed that she wasn’t happy on the show for a number of reasons, including last season’s narrative of the cast feuding with her. And, with the drama came rumors that Bravo is planning to fire Nene — though, the network has not confirmed or addressed the latter.
Nene’s manager Steven Grossman shot down the firing rumors in a statement to HollywoodLife, calling the gossip “absolutely not true.” A production source previously told HollywoodLife that Nene is focused on other projects — including her new E! show, loosely titled Glamsquad Showdown — though, she’s figuring how to make it all work with her role on RHOA.
As for other rumors that Sheree Whitfield may return as a RHOA full-timer? — Kandi is unclear about any new or returning faces at the moment. “Honestly, I don’t know. As it is now, I haven’t talked to Sheree in a little while, but that’s my girl. If she was to come back, I think that would be fun. It would be cool,” Kandi said. “We’re so early in taping I wouldn’t know who’s coming back and who’s not. I know that they have thought about bringing new people on, but I don’t know who those people are yet.”
She continued, “It’s too early for me to know because in the beginning, you kind of tape some of your own personal stuff that you’re dealing with and then all of a sudden you start having the group scenes and that’s when you start meeting some of the other people who are all going to be a part of the show. So, I don’t know who’s all going to be a part of this.”
Kandi went on to note that each RHOA cast member has been tested for COVID-19 before filming. — Something she said has been a hot topic on social media since the start of filming the new season.
“I definitely was filming this week. I just want to address this because I see it in my comments, ‘Did y’all do COVID testing?’ Let me just say, yes we did,” she confirmed, explaining that Bravo, as well as her Truly Original production company have taken steps to ensure the safety of everyone on set.
“We have been [testing], and we’re testing every week. As for me and Todd, we’ve had multiple tests,” she said, admitting, “I did tests on my own before the show started and since the show has started, I have already done two and so has Cynthia [Bailey], as well as the other girls, obviously. Some of them went out of town and now that they’re back in town, and they have to do the same. We are all tested.”
Due to the global pandemic, it’s unclear as to whether or not the cast will embark on their usual international trip — a show staple each season. But, Kandi’s hoping they can do something special for Season 13.
“I think we will do something more local just meaning close by, I think — and mind you, I don’t have any say, so this is just my ear to the streets, that’s what I’ve been hearing,” she said. “I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s going to be true or not, but I wish it could’ve been on an international situation. I don’t know if it could still be. I don’t know, but the reason why I say that is because I love the international trips that we’ve had in the past. We’ve had some really amazing trips. I feel like no matter where we go, if you have us together for days at a time, you’re going to get some good TV.”
Season 13 of RHOA does not have a premiere date. Showtime’s The Chi airs every Sunday at 9 pm.