"The Real Housewives of Atlanta" are back (Season 5 premieres Sun., Nov. 4, 9 p.m. ET on Bravo) with some new faces, some new loves and, as always, a whole lotta drama.
Trying to keep it cool with all the changes going on is Kandi Burruss, who's experiencing a lot of personal change herself this year. Yes, Kandi has a new man in her life, and in the season premiere we get to meet him and see their new house. However, not everyone seems to support their new life together. I caught up with Kandi to talk about choosing love over the show and castmate jealousy, and while she wouldn't say whether or not it's her getting married this season, as the Season 5 trailer cryptically teases, she did seem incredibly happy.
Keep reading for more on the show without drama queen Sheree, her take on the newbies, supporting NeNe Leakes in her new career and launching in-home parties for her sex toy line, which we'll get to see on the show this season. Should be a fun one ...
I watched the premiere, and you just look so great and so happy. It seems like a brand new Kandi.
[Laughs.] Well, thank you! It's funny to hear that, but yes ... everything in my life seems to be new right now. It was a lot at one time. I guess we kind of revealed it on the reunion special that I was in a relationship, and actually I started dating someone who worked for the company that produces our show. He's a line producer, and his name is Todd. It's kind of weird, because at first we kind of thought maybe this was going to be one of those things where maybe I'd have to choose either being on the show or my relationship with him. And we chose love. [Laughs.] I know that sounds sort of corny, but we chose our relationship over everything, and it ended up working out, so on the show you see us moving forward, moving into a new home and everything that comes along with that. Everything is new! My whole life feels new right now.
That's really sweet. Obviously you have a career outside of this show, but the fact that you were still willing to give up the show for him means it's the real deal.
Oh, most definitely. You know sometimes you have to just say, "What's more important?" We dated for a while, and at first it was secret and we didn't tell anybody, then finally we just got to the point where we really didn't care. The only person that I'd really talked to about it was Phaedra, but other than that, nobody really knew for sure. People kind of tried to guess, or to think they knew what was going on, but not really.
Well these women are so judgmental! I'm sure you were just dreading having to hear their opinions. There's a scene in the premiere where you show Kim your new house, and I would've smacked her for what she said.
Oh my goodness! I haven't seen the first episode yet, but yeah, I was very irritated. I was a little perturbed. [Laughs.] You know, the house that we got -- you've got to watch the whole season to see where we took the house and how it ends up looking in the end -- but this is a time when you can find great deals on foreclosures, but you have to do all this work to get them where you want them to be, you know what I mean? So when she was saying little things, in my mind I was like, "Is she serious? Does she not realize that some of the things she's saying are offensive?" I didn't know how to take it at that moment.
It just felt like jealousy. At the end of the day, Kim and Kroy are having their own housing issues, and it's for a house that they're renting!
I don't know what to think, really. You don't want to feel like a person that you're cool with is jealous. And I know that she has a great life herself, and she has a lot of great things. At that time, there was some crazy stuff going on in her life, and it was all in the press about the lady wanting to put her out of that house. So on one hand I'm like OK, she and I are cool, but at the same time, she was saying stuff I didn't like, so of course I'm thinking like, "How are you going to say anything to me? You're renting your house." [Laughs.] One side of you wants to throw knives back, but I was trying to be cool about the situation ... but in the end, I was feeling a little irritated.
I was irritated for you! But you always manage to keep your cool ... really, how do you do it? Especially with some new blood in the mix. I was thinking the absence of Sheree might help ease some things, but ...
Not at all! This show has so much craziness going on throughout this season. For a second -- I'm not gonna lie to you -- when I found out Sheree wasn't going to be part of the show, I was thinking, "Wow. What's gonna happen if Sheree isn't here? Is it going to be boring?" [Laughs.] You know, because Sheree tends to bring the drama sometimes. [Laughs.] But I feel like the two new girls definitely added a lot of spice to this season.
Oh yeah. It definitely seems like Kenya and Porsha aren't shy -- they knew what they were stepping into, and what their roles would be.
Well I think maybe one of them did, but the other one ... I don't think she knew what hit her until it did. [Laughs.] I don't want to give names, but one of our newbies, I think she wasn't quite ready. The other one kind of had an idea what to expect.
Interesting. What is your relationship like with the two of them? Did you know either one of them before they signed on to do the show?
I never knew Porsha -- I just met her. But of course I'd met Kenya in passing, and we have mutual friends. I didn't know her well, but we knew each other.
Is Phaedra still your go-to gal for everything you need in life? Because I love that woman.
[Laughs.] Yes -- I have to say that Phaedra and I are definitely tight. We're very tight.
I'm happy to see that all the ladies supported NeNe with her move to L.A., her new show, her new life. But of all the people in this cast, you've had the most fame beyond this show -- do you think there's been too much attention given to NeNe and her acting work?
I think what she's doing is a great thing. I've always been a person that hates to see when people waste their opportunities. I feel like she's showing the rest of the girls -- and not just the girls from our show, but people who are on reality shows -- here's what you can do with this opportunity. Don't just sit around and be happy to be famous. For me, I'm always one to try to make other things happen and do other businesses, but I do see how some people just get comfortable being famous for being on a reality show, and it's like who cares? I'm really proud of her. She's always had a dream to be an actress, so she got to take advantage of this opportunity to meet the right people and live out her dream, and I think that's wonderful.
I mean, if Honey Boo Boo can be famous ...
Exactly! I mean, we've seen so many people who are famous for a quick, hot second, and as soon as they're off the air or get kicked off the show, they're wondering, "Oh my god, what do I do?"
What's the craziest thing we'll be seeing you do this season? I know there's a big vacation, as always, and those never end well.
Yeah, we took more than one trip this year. I don't know if I did anything too crazy, but I don't know what you guys consider crazy. Some people think that the whole Bedroom Kandi thing is like, "Oh my god -- I can't believe she did that." But for me, it's fun ... it's hot! I started my in-home party company, which is another division of Bedroom Kandi. I had a fun time showing the girls some of my products and showing them how the in-home party could be. I don't know how that's going to play out on TV ... but it was fun.
Do you watch any of the other "Housewives" shows?
To be honest, no. Every now and then, I try to keep up with what "New Jersey" is doing if I can, but ... nope.
They are psychotic! This season was insane. They make you guys look like you're just sitting around drinking tea on the porch.
Oh wow. But see, I think they take theirs so personally because it's family. Anytime you're dealing with someone who's super close to you, it can get crazy.
So knowing you and Phaedra are super close -- almost like family -- did you take a side in what appears to be a fight about Kenya making moves on Apollo? We don't have all the details, but Kenya looks like she has a breakdown, Phaedra doesn't look pleased ...
I'm not gonna get into too much about that, but anything dealing with Phaedra, I'm definitely going to be on her side. I try to not be biased, but it's hard to not be biased anytime you have two people who are arguing and you're closer with one of them. I try to be neutral with everyone, but anytime it comes to Phaedra, I'm gonna lean in her direction more often.
We love the smalls!
You know what's so funny? Now I feel like Phaedra and I are two midgets amongst some giants! [Laughs.] Everybody is like damn near six feet tall -- I'm like, this is crazy. We're so short compared to them.
Well you started something. You don't watch "Real Housewives of New York," but they had their own talls vs. smalls war this season ...
I like to look at it this way: Yeah, they're tall, but Phaedra and I really have more going on than the rest of them, so ... I couldn't care less about how tall they are! [Laughs.]
"Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Kenya here
"The Real Housewives of Atlanta" Season 5 premieres Sun., Nov. 4, 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.