Every single one of the episodes from the 11 seasons of Bravo’s Real Housewives of Atlanta series is jampacked with drama-fueled, emotion-driven tears and fights. Following the “fabulous” lives of several different glamorous, Georgia peaches is nonstop, brilliant entertainment. But sometimes you have to stop and ask the obvious… is this “Real Housewives” show completely real?
From the moment season one launched in 2008, it was clear Bravo had another real hit on their hands. As the world got to know the show’s stars, NeNe, Kim, Lisa, Sheree, Kandi, Cynthia, and Phaedra, fans were hooked for good. Even as the show began to lose some of its favs, its success continued on with new spunky personalities.
Many of the show’s critics are certain this ultimate guilty pleasure reality show cannot be actual “reality.” It must be scripted, they say. However, the answer might not be as clear-cut as some would think. Taking a deeper look into the behind-the-scenes of Real Housewives of Atlanta could easily show you that, though some aspects may in fact be fake, a lot of the shows greatest qualities are actually 100 percent real. We’re here to set the record straight. Check out these 10 things about RHOA that are indeed fake, and 10 that are as real as it gets.
20 Fake: Specific Conversations Are Requested By Producers
Real Housewives of Atlanta thrives on drama. What would the show be without all the cat fights, disagreements, emotional meltdowns and general pettiness? Well, for one, it probably wouldn’t have continued for this long.
In order to keep the drama flowing and the audience captivated, the show’s producers have been known to push for or request certain conversations out of the ladies. This doesn’t really make the show scripted, since they do not provide the cast with exact words to say. But, at the same time, it doesn’t make the show a total reality, either.
19 Real: Kim And NeNe Really Do Dislike Each Other ... A Lot
Kim Zolciak-Biermann and NeNe Leakes are both part of RHOA’s original cast from season one. Before the show ever aired, NeNe and Kim were actually real-life best friends. However, once the cameras came in, things quickly changed.
NeNe wasn’t afraid to share her disapproval over Kim’s life choices and this usually led the pair to an all-out screaming session full of harsh words and insults. The relationship hit its ultimate breaking point after that one awful tour bus fight where NeNe got inches from Kim’s face during their argument. The dislike these two share for each other is all real. It continues off-screen and Kim’s oldest daughter, Brielle, has even been pulled into it now.
18 Fake: Certain Over-The-Top Meltdowns Aren't Real
During season 10, episode 10, the girls headed to Houston, Texas to do some charity work after Hurricane Harvey. However, the possible good intentions quickly turned awful when Kenya, Porsha Williams and Cynthia Bailey started bickering about their different charity events. In the end, Kenya stormed off cussing and yelling at a show producer about how much she is fed up and hates the other girls. The authenticity of her showstopping meltdown, though, is questionable. According to The Hollywood Gossip, Kenya knew exactly what she was doing by throwing her tantrum.
“Kenya didn't want to film for the three or four hours that all of the ladies were doing in Houston after doing hurricane relief. So instead she caused a fight and stormed out. That way she still filmed but it wasn’t real, and she wasn’t really mad and all she did was cause drama.”
17 Real: The Words The Ladies Use Are All Their Own
There is no script given to the ladies of RHOA. Every word that comes out of their mouth is 100 percent their own voice. According to fan-favorite, Kandi Burruss, no one tells the girls what to say to each other.
“That comes from you,” she explained in an interview with KTLA. “If you feel like saying it, so you said it – you have to own it.” We know from other reality shows, editing plays a huge role in what is produced for viewers, but the conversations carried are created by the girls themselves.
16 Fake: Some Of The Women Weren't As Wealthy As They Pretended In The Beginning
Everyone on the Real Housewives of Atlanta looks and seems so flashy and glamorous. But that’s just what producers and Bravo want us to think.
According to Jezebel, during season one, four out of the five main cast members were actually broke. NeNe didn’t own her home; she was renting, and she owed over $6,000 in back rent. Sheree Whitfield’s criminal record was revealed, and her financial status was also up for question. Lisa Wu-Hartwell lost her money just a year before the show aired. Kim was known for getting money from her “sugar daddy” Big Poppa. The only cast member who actually had real money during season one was DeShawn Snow and that “means she legit – and kinda boring” so she was taken off by season two.
15 Real: Kim's Big Poppa Really Did Exist
If you followed the ladies from the beginning, you likely remember a man who never appeared on the show who went only by “Big Poppa.” Well, as it turns out, this man really did exist in Kim’s life.
Successful real estate manager, Lee Najjar was the married man behind the notorious title. He largely funded Kim’s entire lavish lifestyle during the first few seasons of the show. Kim tried to keep her relationship with Big Poppa as secretive as possible, but we all know that’s impossible in this day and age. According to Life&Style Magazine, Lee and his wife, also named Kim, are still married and have two children together.
14 Fake: Big Group Meetups Are Set Up By Producers
When you throw together several different women with very strong personalities, things are going to go down, and Bravo producers are very savvy to this information. Therefore, they have been known to set up certain group meetups for the girls to participate in together.
Sometimes, the ladies have no idea who is going to show up to the get together and that makes for even better drama. Real Housewives of Atlanta is not just about the ladies as individuals, it is about their relationship and life as a group of friends. It’s necessary to stir the pot every now and then by making sure they actually hang out as a whole, regardless of any ill feelings they have toward each other at that time.
13 Real: The Ladies' Strong Personalities Are 100% True
Looking at the way some of these grown women behave on the show, you might think there is no way they are actually that way in real life. Oh, but they are.
“It’s real,” expressed show producer, Andy Cohen in an interview with Attitude Magazine. “We cast very highly volatile, emotional, driven, opinionated women, and because of that, they go to town!” In fact, season one’s DeShawn Snow was allegedly cast out of the show because they wanted her to be more dramatic and she refused because that wasn’t who she was as a person in real life.
12 Fake: The Close Friendship Between All The Girls Shown On The Show
As the years of RHOA have passed by, we have seen some of the ladies leave the show and new ones enter the show. How can all these girls be real friends in real life? Well, according to NeNe, they aren’t.
“The viewers seem to forget I came onto the set with a whole different cast of women,” NeNe stated in an interview with POSE Magazine. “It’s good to keep the show fresh and keep them watching. It’s bad when they think you’re friends with people on the show.” When NeNe entered the show, it was with women she was actually friends with. Now, it’s all compiled of a group of women with little to no real-life connection.
“I never met Kandi Burruss, Porsha, or Lisa Wu-Hartwell until they stepped on the show and we signed all these contracts. When you guys are getting to know us, we’re getting to know each other,” NeNe shared.
11 Real: Phaedra Parks' Husband Did Get In Trouble
Phaedra Parks joined RHOA during season three and boy, did she bring a lot to the table. Phaedra was the self-proclaimed “Southern Belle” of the show, and enjoys all the finer things of life. She was most recognized for being popular entertainment attorney.
During her time on the show, she stirred the pot quite a bit with her strange obsession with funerals and with the huge news of her husband, Apollo Nida’s prison sentence. Apollo really was sentenced to eight years for bank fraud, according to Us Weekly. The Queen of Shade was less than supportive during the whole ordeal, but really, who could blame her. She turned all her energy into focusing on the well-being of her two children.
10 Fake: That Totally Staged Fight Between NeNe and Cynthia
During season six, episode 20, NeNe and her husband, Gregg had a pretty big altercation with Cynthia Bailey and her husband, Peter. In this moment, NeNe said some fairly harsh and unfair things to Peter that seemed to affect him pretty bad.
The incident was brought up again during the season’s reunion show, which ultimately led to Cynthia “ending” her friendship with NeNe. However, NeNe later posted a startling text message from Cynthina that appeared to show the two discussing the whole thing prior to filming it. NeNe captioned the screenshot with, “Did u forget u sent me this text after Mexico, the morning before Gregg and I shot the scene with u and Peter. Don’t play dumb friend!”
9 Real: Kim Zolciak Was Always Telling The Truth About Her Age
Since Kim joined Real Housewives of Atlanta in season one, she has been in the middle of a lot of the show’s main drama. She has had her fair share of issues with nearly every one of the ladies of the show. Her actual age was even thrown up for discussion at one point.
Kim entered the show stating she was 30 years old. This made her the youngest cast member of the show during season one. A lot of skeptics thought there was no way she was that young. However, it’s true. Kim was born in 1978, making her just 40-years-old today. Other main cast members are pushing 50.
8 Fake: Some Relationships May Be Just For Entertainment
Kenya Moore does certain things in order to stay relevant and keep that peach on the show. One of the stranger things she has done is “hire” a man to play her new boyfriend on the show. When Kenya joined the show, she didn’t have any of the two main things needed to be a “housewife,” a relationship or a family.According to Straight From The A, “Moore was apparently told that her ‘relationship’ issue was a factor and Kenya is rumored to have assured casting that she had a suitor on deck.”
Of course, Kenya denies any accusations of faking her boyfriend, but the man himself, Walter Jackson, came forward denying he was really with the show’s star. He claims she approached him desperate and begged him to participate on the show, and that they only actually dated for three months over three years prior to her appearance on the show.
7 Real: Cynthia And Peter's Marital Issues Really Happened
Cynthia Bailey and Peter Thomas were one of the power couples on Real Housewives of Atlanta after getting married in 2010. However, having cameras around all the time and being publicly scrutinized often takes a toll on even the strongest of marriages.
All of Cynthia’s struggles with Peter were real and affected her life off the show, too. Cynthia filed for divorce in June 2016 after six years of marriage. "There's always things, whether it's little things or big things. Sometimes, those little things become big things. There's always signs, there's always that unrest inside of you that feels like, 'Hmmm, I wonder if this is for me,'" Cynthia expressed in an interview with Bravo. "It's hard."
6 Fake: The Way NeNe Is Portrayed On The Show Is Different Than Her Everyday Ways
OG Real Housewife, NeNe Leakes has, in her own words, become the sort of villain of the show. In an interview with Essence.com, NeNe expressed that she knows how reality shows work, and she’s largely accepts it. However, she wants it known that she isn’t who they show in real life.
“"I feel like they've done whatever they could do to try to not show me in the best light,” NeNe stated. “I'm just saying that they've done whatever they could to try to diminish anything that I've done and I'm okay with it because I know about reality TV… Every season there has to be a villain.”
5 Real: Kandi Burruss' Relationship With Her Daughter's Father Was As Bad As It Seemed
When Kandi Burruss joined the series in season two, her daughter, Riley was just eight-years-old. There wasn’t any father in sight, either. He has been mentioned from time to time on the show, but never really in any good light.
She came out to Sheree confessing how Riley’s father, Russell “Block” Spencer, was a deadbeat and when she found out she was pregnant, he said he would have nothing to do with the baby. Years later though, it appeared Block tried making an effort to get to know his daughter, but she showed no interest. Block also claimed the whole storyline with him, and Kandi was scripted, but Kandi quickly shut that down exclaiming the drama with Riley’s father is definitely not scripted.
4 Fake: That One Time Sheree Went To Court With Her Ex Was Staged
We know now that some of the group situations on the show are created by the producers. We also know that producers often ask the ladies to have specific conversations. But now, we’re learning that they may also encourage phony court proceedings?
During season four, Sheree was served papers from her ex-husband, Bob. The two end up going to court, and Phaedra is even acting as Sheree’s lawyer. However, according to MediaTakeout.com, the whole hearing was set up and totally faked. The hearing’s judge during the episode was named Judge Bensonetta Tipton Lane and she was white. MediaTakeout says the real Judge Lane is actually of African-American descent, suggesting the one on the show was actually an actress.
3 Real: Cynthia's Is Actually Dating Mike Hill
It seems one of the RHOA’s favorite things to fake these days is relationships. However, the budding relationship between Cynthia Bailey and Mike Hill is very real.
Many of the show’s fans have come forward claiming Cynthia’s new relationship was fake and all for cameras. It’s clear there are trust issues after Kenya’s fake dates. However, Cynthia’s FOX Sports host beau isn’t letting these rumors get to him. He’s not here to play games. Mike has made several statements defining his love with Cynthia. “We don’t need that kind of attention. We just want each other,” he captioned on an Instagram photo. “Love YOUR life and find you someone to love. That way you won’t guess about what’s happening over here.”
2 Fake: Kim's "Almost" Music Career With Superstar Producer Dallas Austin Was All Show
During RHOA season one, we saw Kim start to embark on her musical career. Star music producer, Dallas Austin even appeared on the show to help Kim get her voice to where it needed to be.
After his appearance, though, Dallas was quick to tear the blonde housewife’s name through the mud. He took to Twitter asking people to never use Kim’s name in any serious music conversation. He said his whole role was only for the sake of television. Regardless of if he was there to help her seriously or not, we do know that Kim did find some sort of musical fame with her pop single, “Tardy for the Party.”
1 Real: Kim Is Completely Head Over Hills For Her Husband, Kroy Biermann
Given Kim’s history with men before her magical relationship with former football player, Kroy Biermann, it’s easy to understand why people would have questioned the legitimacy of Kim’s feelings for Kroy. But it’s safe to say, they are all true.
Kim has been madly in love and obsessed with Kroy since the moment they met at a dance competition charity event in 2010. The pair were married a year later and now share together six children, including Kim’s daughters from earlier relationships who Kroy has since adopted as his own. Kim warmly refers to Kroy as her “very best friend, my strength when I am weak, the rational voice, the calming force.”
References: Reality Tea, Us Weekly, Bravo, Radar Online, InTouch Weekly