Some Friendships Are Not Worth Fostering

When “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” launched, we were fascinated. We immersed ourselves in the storylines of the original cast. They were a bunch of women with strong personalities, an affinity for the good life and hilarious punch lines. The show’s early episodes highlighted a close-knit relationship between Nene Leakes and Kim Zolciak. At first, the two seemed like best buddies, fiercely defending each other. They maintained a sugary bond that swiftly soured over time. As more storylines unfolded, the seemingly “sweet sisterhood” between Leakes and Zolciak suddenly transformed into a toxic, dizzying brouhaha that played out on national television. The epic fallout between the two women points out a fundamental lesson: be careful who you let into your inner circle. There were always red flags between Leakes and Zolciak’s friendship. Many of the situations that unraveled were encouraged. This culminated in massive fallouts and unnecessary toxicity.


The Beginning

At the show’s beginning, Leakes was an ally of Zolciak, with the two closer than ever, often helping her assimilate into the group. Zolciak, who was the only white woman on the main cast often seemed to be an outlier, and Leakes acted as a connector, making her new friend a part of the group. At the time, Zolciak seemed to be equally as devoted to Leakes until things fell apart.



Leakes and Zolciak’s friendship started to come apart at the seams when Leakes started to question Zolciak’s clandestine relationship with her then-boyfriend, the infamous  “Big Poppa,” who was allegedly married at the time. Leakes’ criticism of Zolciak’s relationship ultimately caused a rift that culminated in season one reunion’s famous catchphrase “Close your legs to married men.” 


Off and On

The longstanding Leakes-Zolciak feud has shown the duo’s friendship fall apart and then come back together in an unhealthy culmination of an off-and-on comradeship that seemed to go back and forth with time. Throughout the show, Zolciak’s problematic behavior and meltdown continued to cause the two to fall further apart. At a certain point, Leakes told Zolciak that she regretted their feud during a joint appearance on “Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen” in 2014. While it seemed like all was well after that, the costars were again at each other’s throats shortly after.


Disrespect and Insults

On several occasions, things turned physical between the two women during season 3 after NeNe accused Kim of mistreating her assistant, Sweetie, in a racially derogatory way. The situation became even more complex when Brielle Biermann, Zolciak’s daughter, who Leakes had known since she was a little girl, filmed videos allegedly showing cockroaches in NeNe’s home. After the video went viral on social media, Leakes called out Biermann, calling her a racist and prompting Zolciak to say that she would never return to the show.


A Cautionary Tale

Leakes and Zolciak have always had a rocky relationship, shrouded with complications rooted in racial disparity, moral differences, and personality clashes. 

There is a theme that exists in this story. It is imperative to be nit-picky with the energy you allow around you. Friendships are spiritual institutions, and letting your guard down with a person whose frequency is not in tune with yours can be catastrophic. On many occasions, Zolciak set off one red flag after another and even attempted to cause other cast members to gang up against Leakes. Forming a friendship with a manipulative person can wreak havoc. The Leakes-Zolciak association was a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. Whether some of their tensions were manufactured to appeal to the X-factor of reality TV (which is unlikely), the friendship always had the makings of being doomed. Leakes recently filed a lawsuit against Andy Cohen and the production companies in charge of the show, and the bitter aftertaste of her friendship with Zolciak is still a topic of discussion amidst the legal suit. It is a cautionary tale to be careful about how far you let your guard down. Although there are people who are great at masking their true selves, it is worth proceeding with discretion at the start of every acquaintanceship that is on the brink of friendship.

friendshipsNene LeakesrelationshipsRHOA