NeNe Leakes was born on December 13, 1967, in Queens, New York. The T.V. personality and actress got her big break on the reality series “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” where she was among the highest-paid and most popular cast members. Her rise in the entertainment industry was marked by challenges, but Leakes always comes out on top and continues to be an influential figure in her field. She brought some much-needed authenticity and honesty to reality T.V., cementing her place as a Hollywood diva with her larger-than-life character. We’ll help you celebrate her birthday right here!
NeNe Leakes is a household name in the reality T.V. industry. She’s known as the ‘original housewife of Atlanta,’ taking the world by storm in 2008 with her no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is persona, quick wit, and quirky sense of humor. Born Linnethia Monique Johnson on December 13, 1967, in the U.S., she grew up in Athens, Georgia. Leakes is a Sagittarius and of African-American descent. She attended Clarke Central High School. While studying at Morris Brown College, she fell pregnant with her first child. Before entering the world of reality T.V., she appeared in an episode of “The Parkers” in 1999 and played a minor role in the film “The Fighting Temptations” in 2003. While living in Atlanta, Leakes met friends who would link her up with show producers at Bravo.
In 2008, she made her first appearance as an original cast member on the reality T.V. series “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.” Following the success of the show’s first season, which pulled in over a million viewers per episode, Leakes penned her “Never Make The Same Mistake Twice” book with Denene Millner. In her trademark humorous, no-holds-barred style, she told the story of her life, childhood, relationship with an abusive boyfriend, and path to self-acceptance. She also shared her unfiltered views on some of her fellow T.V. show castmates. Leakes remained a cast member on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” for seven seasons, but in 2015, she announced that she wouldn’t return for the eighth season. She would appear in a supporting role on the show but still earn the same salary as before — a testament to her star power and appeal to viewers. She returned to the show for seasons 10 through 12 as a full-time cast member.
Season 13 of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” was filmed without Leakes, who again announced that she would not return to the show. In 2020, she released a song called ‘Come and Get This Hunni’ on her YouTube channel. Leakes opened a lounge in May 2021 named The Linnethia, hosting singers like Tamar Braxton and Keke Wyatt for concerts and appearances. In April 2022, she filed a federal lawsuit against N.B.C. Universal and Bravo, production companies Truly Original and True Entertainment, and “Real Housewives of Atlanta” producer Andy Cohen for violating federal employment and anti-discrimination laws.
NeNe Leakes works at the Gold Club under the stage name ‘Silk.’
She begins her reality T.V. career on the pilot episode of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.”
Leakes pens her memoir tackling her life before becoming a reality T.V. star.
After a disagreement with cast member Star Jones on episode 10 of N.B.C’s “Celebrity Apprentice,” Leakes walks off the show.
She plays the role of secretary Rocky Rhoades in N.B.C. Network’s comedy “The New Normal.”
Leakes opens The Linnethia, a lounge in Atlanta.
Why We Love NeNe Leakes
She is the queen of sass
It’s not up for debate. NeNe Leakes is the queen of sass. Her clips and reactions from her time on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” have spawned dozens of hilarious and relatable memes.
She is true to herself
Unlike most reality T.V. stars who put up a contrived image for ratings, Leakes is one of the few who chose to be herself. And it certainly paid off.
She tells it like it is
Leakes has never been one to beat around the bush or sugarcoat her statements. In her own words, “I said what I said!”
5 Surprising Facts
She was a dancer
NeNe Leakes has never shied away from talking about her career as a pole dancer for three years.
She is also a singer
She’s a talented singer and even showed off her skills in the 2015 Broadway show “Chicago.”
Her battle with abuse
Leakes was with an abusive partner in her early 20s, and she frequently shares ways to get out of such relationships.
She is originally from Brooklyn
Though Leakes is a proud Atlantan, she’s from Brooklyn, and her family relocated to Atlanta when she was four years old.
Her rivalry with Kenya Moore is real
While viewers may think her rivalry with Moore is fabricated for T.V. ratings, the two genuinely dislike each other, and Leakes has stated that they will never be friends.
NeNe Leakes FAQs
Are NeNe Leakes and Cynthia Bailey still friends?
Leakes and Bailey appear to have reconciled after they fell out in 2020, with Leakes even posting a photo of her hanging out with Cynthia in Atlanta the following year.
How did Leakes get rich?
Leakes earned most of her wealth from her appearances on “Real Housewives of Atlanta.”
What caused the death of Leakes’ husband?
Her husband succumbed to colon cancer in 2021.
NeNe Leakes’s birthday dates