Let’s tell the truth: the best part of Real Housewives of Atlanta is Nene Leakes. Born Linnethia Monique Johnson in Queens, New York, Nene Leakes came from humble beginnings to take the throne as the queen of reality TV. She’s transcended the usual 15 minutes to work beyond the borders of Housewives fame, creating and building an empire off of the quotes and soundbites people love, her talent and wit. It’s all gotten her very, very far.
To quote Nene herself, “I am very rich, bitch.”
Nene Leakes’ estimated net worth as of 2018 is $12 million.
How did she acquire those riches?
2008 – 2011Bravo
Nene got her peach in 2008 as Bravo added Atlanta to its roster of Real Housewives cities. From her first moment onscreen, it was clear that Nene was the most entertaining of the women (especially on an admittedly boring season). Nene was unafraid to speak her mind and stand up for herself, essentials in an often-catty industry.
Before her turn on TV, Nene grew up in a tough situation, eventually turning to stripping to put herself through school and take care of her son. She married Gregg Leakes in 1997, the man who’d make her a housewife.
After remaining in contract for another season of RHOA, Nene wrote a book called Never Make The Same Mistake Twice. She began to take on hosting appearances, endorsements and acting roles.
Nene was vocal about her ambitions and eventually her hard work paid off.
2012 – 2014Radio & TV Talk/Getty Images
In 2012, Nene took on a major role in FOX’s hit show Glee. She played the competitive Roz Washington from 2012 to 2015. In the same year, she scored several other TV roles and her acting resume grew even further. She also nabbed a lead role on The New Normal, though the show was cancelled after a season.
Nene also had the opportunity to host E!’s Fashion Police, a role she still holds to this day. She guest-hosted on a few other daytime talk shows as well.
She expanded her reality TV presence by competing on Celebrity Apprentice and Dancing With the Stars.
Offscreen, Nene acted in Cinderella on Broadway.
All of this experience led to the founding of her own production company, Nene Leakes Entertainment.
Her business sense led to a fashion line, the Nene Leakes Collection, which she sold on HSN. The clothes sold out in days, making the line a major success.
2015 – Present
In 2015, Nene said her goodbyes to Real Housewives of Atlanta, despite rumors saying she was the highest-paid franchise star on Bravo. She returned to the show in 2017, eventually regaining her peach and bringing the drama for an action-packed season 10.
She got the role of Matron “Mama” Morton in Chicago on Broadway on 2015 after Cinderella’s end. She made several more television appearances and began endorsing her products on Instagram, raking in extra cash with her high following.
Now, Nene’s back to the ATL and if there’s one thing that will continue, it’s that she will be the best part of the season.
Nene Leakes once hooked up with Sheree’s prison bae Tyrone Gilliams, according to the rumors.