NeNe Leakes

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NeNe Leakes
Born
Linnethia Monique Johnson

(1967-12-13) December 13, 1967 (age 53)
EducationMorris Brown College
Occupation
  • Television personality
  • actress
  • presenter
  • author
  • fashion designer
Years active1999–present
Spouse(s)
Gregg Leakes
(m. 1997; div. 2011)

(m. 2013; died 2021)
Children2

Linnethia Monique "NeNe" Leakes (/ˈnni lks/; née Johnson; born December 13, 1967)[1][2] is an American television personality, actress, presenter, businesswoman, author, and fashion designer.

Born in Queens, New York and raised in Athens, Georgia, she is best known for having appeared on the reality television series The Real Housewives of Atlanta as an original cast member and for her recurring character, Roz Washington, on the Fox comedy-drama series Glee.

Leakes also played Rocky Rhoades as a series regular on the sitcom The New Normal on NBC until its cancellation in 2013. She was a participant on NBC's The Celebrity Apprentice and ABC's Dancing with the Stars. Leakes made her Broadway debut as Madame in Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella in 2014, and in 2015, starred as Matron "Mama" Morton in Chicago.

She was one of the regular panelists on ABC's revival of the 1950s game show To Tell the Truth. In addition to her television projects, Leakes had a clothing line on Home Shopping Network, before launching her SWAGG boutiques in select cities across the country.

Early life[edit]

Linnethia Monique Johnson was born in Queens, New York City.[1] One of five children, she and one of her brothers were sent to live with an aunt in Athens, Georgia, while the other three children stayed with her mother. It was believed that her mother could not take care of all five.[3] After graduating from Clarke Central High School in Athens, she decided to further her formal education at Morris Brown College in Atlanta for two years before becoming pregnant.[4][5]

Career[edit]

Before Leakes met the producers of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, she had appeared on TV shows like The Parkers thanks to meeting casting director Robi Reed-Humes. In 2003, she landed a minor role as a stripper in the film The Fighting Temptations, starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Beyoncé. However, none of her scenes are present in the final edit of the movie.[6]

In 2008, Leakes made her first appearance on The Real Housewives of Atlanta as an original cast member.[7] After the first season, she co-wrote the book Never Make The Same Mistake Twice with Denene Millner. Leakes was a main cast member for the first seven seasons. In June 2015, Leakes announced that she would not be returning to The Real Housewives of Atlanta for its eighth season.[8] However, Leakes was featured in season 8 of The Real Housewives of Atlanta in a supporting role, reportedly earning her full salary from the previous seven seasons. Leakes later returned to the show as a full-time housewife for the tenth through twelfth seasons.

In 2020, Leakes announced that she would not return to The Real Housewives of Atlanta for its thirteenth season.[9]

Leakes has also transitioned into scripted television, playing the secretary Rocky Roades in the NBC comedy The New Normal.[10][11] Ryan Murphy cast Leakes on his series Glee in the third season in a recurring role as synchronized swim coach and Olympic bronze-medalist Coach Roz Washington.[12][13][14][15] In 2011, Leakes was a contestant on the eleventh installment of Donald Trump's NBC series Celebrity Apprentice.[16] During the tenth episode of Celebrity Apprentice, after arguments with fellow cast member Star Jones, Leakes walked off the show.[17][18]

Leakes has guest-hosted Anderson Live,[19] The Talk, appeared in Betty White's Off Their Rockers[20] and The Price Is Right.[21] On March 4, 2014, she was announced as one of the celebrities who would compete in the 18th season of Dancing with the Stars. She was paired with professional dancer, Tony Dovolani. Leakes and Dovolani were eliminated in Week 7 of competition (Latin Night) on April 28, 2014, finishing in 7th place.[22]

Leakes played the Mistress of Sensuality in Las Vegas for resident show Cirque du Soleil: Zumanity.[23] She made her Broadway debut on November 25, 2014, as Madame in Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella. She played the role until the production closed on January 3, 2015.[24] In November 2015, she was cast as playing Matron "Mama" Morton in Chicago on Broadway for four weeks.[citation needed]

Leakes released a song, entitled "Come and Get This Hunni," in April 2020.

Other ventures[edit]

Production[edit]

Leakes founded NeNe Leakes Entertainment, a television production company. The company produced Leakes' spin-off series I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding alongside True Entertainment, which premiered on September 17, 2013.[25]

Fashion line[edit]

In February 2014, Leakes announced that she would be launching a clothing line later in the year. On July 28, 2014, Leakes launched the Nene Leakes Collection for the Home Shopping Network (HSN).

Comedy[edit]

In March 2016, Leakes announced that she would be touring the United States in a one-woman comedy tour called "So Nasty, So Rude," named after one of her catchphrases. The tour started in April, with many shows sold out.[26]

Boutiques[edit]

Leakes opened the first SWAGG Boutique location in Duluth, Georgia in November 2017, and it closed in August 2020. She then expanded SWAGG Boutique to the MGM National Harbor in Maryland and to Miami Beach, with these locations still open and operating.

Lounge[edit]

In October 2020, Leakes posted on Instagram that she would be opening a lounge in Duluth, Georgia. The Linnethia Lounge, named after Leakes' birth name, opened in May 2021. Singers such as KeKe Wyatt and Tamar Braxton have made appearances and performed concerts.

Personal life[edit]

Leakes resides in Duluth, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta.[27] Her home is known as "Casa Leakes". Leakes listed the home for sale in October 2021.

She and husband Gregg Leakes separated in 2010, and she filed for divorce on April 29, 2010. The divorce was finalized September 29, 2011, after season four of The Real Housewives had finished shooting.[28] NeNe and Gregg Leakes reunited and announced that they were engaged in January 2013.[29][30] Bravo filmed their wedding planning and ceremony for a spin-off entitled I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding.[31] NeNe and Gregg remarried on June 22, 2013, at the InterContinental Buckhead Hotel in Atlanta.[32] In June 2018, she revealed that Gregg had stage 3 colon cancer but announced in May 2019 that he was cancer-free. In June 2021, she announced that the cancer recurred and that he was in the hospital recovering after surgery. Gregg Leakes died from colon cancer on September 1, 2021 at the age of 66.[33][34]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2003 The Fighting Temptations Stripper Deleted Scene
2018 Uncle Drew NeNe Leakes Minor Role
2019 How High 2 Mrs. Silas Television film[35]
2019 Ride or Die Glo Television film

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2004 The Parkers Minor role 1 episode
2008–2020 The Real Housewives of Atlanta Herself Main cast (season 1–7, 10–12); Recurring (season 8)
2009-2020 Entertainment Tonight Herself
2011 The Celebrity Apprentice 4 Herself Contestant; Season 11; 10 episodes
2012–2015 Glee Roz Washington Recurring role; 13 episodes
2014-2020 Extra with Billy Bush Herself
2012 The Amandas Herself 1 episode
2012 The Game Herself 1 episode
2012 Let's Stay Together Herself 1 episode
2012–2013 The New Normal Rocky Rhoades Series regular
2013 Betty White's Off Their Rockers Herself 1 episode
2013 The Price Is Right Herself 1 episode
2013 Miss USA Herself Main judge, 1 episode
2013 I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding Herself Main cast/executive producer; 7 episodes
2013–2017 Fashion Police Co-host Guest co-host (2013–15); co-host (2016–17)
2014 The Millionaire Matchmaker Herself 1 episode
2014 Dancing with the Stars Herself Contestant; Season 18; 8 episodes (finished 7th/12)
2015 The Prancing Elites Project Herself 1 episode
2015 Real Husbands of Hollywood Herself 1 episode
2015–2016 New Year's Eve with Carson Daly Co-host Special broadcast from Times Square
2016 To Tell the Truth Panelist Television panel game show
2016 Larry King Now Herself 1 episode
2016 Cupcake Wars Competitor 1 episode
2016 Celebrity Family Feud Competitor 1 episode: "Lance Bass vs Kellie Pickler and Ernie Hudson vs Nene Leakes"
2016 Lip Sync Battle Competitor 1 episode: "NeNe Leakes vs. Todd Chrisley"
2016 Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry Herself 1 episode
2017 MasterChef Celebrity Showdown Competitor 1 episode
2018 Uncensored Herself TV One production; 1 episode
2019 First Wives Club Angel 1 episode: "Diamonds Are Forever"
2020 Celebrity Ghost Stories Herself 1 episode: "NeNe Leakes"
2020 Celebrity Show-Off Competitor Season 1; 3 episodes
2020 Celebrity Call Center Herself Season 1; 1 episode
2020 Tamron Hall Herself Season 1; 1 episode

Music videos[edit]

Year Song Artist Role
2015 "If I Don't Have You" Tamar Braxton Madam NeNe

Video games[edit]

Year Video game Character
2015 Kim Kardashian: Hollywood NeNe Leakes

Producer[edit]

Theatre[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2011 Loving Him Is Killing Me Pinky Bell Stage play (toured major U.S. cities)
2014 Zumanity Mistress of Sensuality Las Vegas resident show
2014–15 Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella Madame (Replacement) The Broadway Theatre
2015 Chicago Matron "Mama" Morton (Replacement) The Ambassador Theatre

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "NeNe Leaks". TVGuide.com. Archived from the original on April 22, 2016. Retrieved July 5, 2015.
  2. ^ "Watching NeNe Leakes Serenade Gregg Leakes at Her Holiday-Birthday Party Gives Us All the Feels". Bravo. December 19, 2017. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
  3. ^ "The Real Story With NeNe Leakes' Mother". AllThingsRH.com. May 11, 2015. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  4. ^ "NeNe Leakes Talks Stripper Past & Says It Was a Great Hustle". Urban Belle Magazine. November 16, 2012. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  5. ^ "Where Did NeNe Leakes Go to College?". March 2, 2014.
  6. ^ Karu, Daniels. "Ebony Cover With NeNe Leakes Unleashes a Firestorm of Criticism". The Daily Beast. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
  7. ^ "Bravo's Hit Franchise Docu-Series "The Real Housewives" Heads South for "The Real Housewives of Atlanta"". The Futon Critic (Press release). June 26, 2008. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
  8. ^ "NeNe Leakes and Kim Zolciak Biermann Are Teaming Up for a New Bravo Show and We're Already Obsessed". E! Online. March 30, 2015.
  9. ^ "NeNe Leakes Is Not Returning to The Real Housewives of Atlanta". PEOPLE.com. Retrieved February 16, 2021.
  10. ^ Stasi, Linda (September 11, 2012). "Best part of 'New Normal' is the cast". New York Post.
  11. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (January 14, 2013). "'The New Normal': Nene Leakes Puts 'Sing' Star in Her Place". The Hollywood Reporter.
  12. ^ Ho, Rodney (December 20, 2011). "NeNe Leakes joins 'Glee' for a few episodes". Access Atlanta. Archived from the original on April 7, 2012.
  13. ^ Hines, Ree (December 20, 2011). "'Housewives' star NeNe Leakes gets recurring role on 'Glee'". TODAY.
  14. ^ Brown, Laurel (March 7, 2013). "'Glee' scoop: NeNe Leakes will return in Season 4 as Coach Roz". Zap2it. Archived from the original on October 19, 2013. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
  15. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (December 20, 2011). "'Glee' Enlists 'Real Housewives of Atlanta's' Nene Leakes". The Hollywood Reporter.
  16. ^ Nudd, Tim (May 11, 2011). "NeNe Leakes: Celebrity Apprentice Was 'Toxic' for Me". People.
  17. ^ "NeNe Leakes: Why I Quit Celebrity Apprentice". Us Weekly. May 9, 2011.
  18. ^ "NeNe Leakes Slams 'Celebrity Apprentice' After Quitting". Access Hollywood. May 9, 2011.
  19. ^ Nessif, Bruna (November 18, 2013). "Rosie O'Donnell & NeNe Leakes to Guest Cohost Anderson Cooper's Talk Show". E! News.
  20. ^ Beard, Lanford (January 28, 2013). "Bloop! NeNe Leakes gives Betty White wine-tossing tips". Entertainment Weekly.
  21. ^ Wieselman, Jarett (February 18, 2013). "NeNe Comes To 'The Price Is Right'". Entertainment Tonight.
  22. ^ "Dancing With the Stars Cast Revealed! Cody Simpson, Nene Leakes and James Maslow Are Among the Names—See the Full List! | E! Online UK". Eonline.com. March 4, 2014. Retrieved March 25, 2014.
  23. ^ "NeNe Leakes joins Zumanity!". Cirque Du Soleil. March 31, 2014. Archived from the original on January 5, 2017. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  24. ^ "[Replacement and/or Transfer Information]. Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella". Internet Broadway Database (The Broadway League). Retrieved October 25, 2015.
  25. ^ Sara Bibel (September 18, 2013). "Tuesday Cable Ratings: 'Sons of Anarchy' Wins Night, 'Tosh.0', 'Suits', 'Amish Mafia', 'Face Off' & More". TV by the Numbers. Zap2It. Archived from the original on September 22, 2013. Retrieved February 19, 2014.
  26. ^ "NeNe Leakes kicks off stand up comedy tour in Charlotte in April". realitytea.com. realitytea.com. March 31, 2016. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
  27. ^ "NeNe Leakes House Pictures". CelebrityHousePictures.com. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  28. ^ Ho, Rodney (April 11, 2012). "UPDATED: NeNe is indeed divorced". Access Atlanta. Archived from the original on April 13, 2012.
  29. ^ "Nene Leakes Engaged To Ex: 'Real Housewives of Atlanta' Star Gets Back With Ex-Husband Gregg". Huffington Post. January 8, 2013.
  30. ^ Alyssa Toomey (January 8, 2013). "NeNe Leakes "Definitely Back Together" With Ex-Husband Gregg Leakes, Stays Mum on Wedding Rumors". E!.
  31. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (April 18, 2013). "Nene Leakes Wedding Spinoff Nabs Series Order at Bravo". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  32. ^ Coughlan, Maggie (June 22, 2013). "NeNe Leakes Marries Gregg Leakes for a Second Time". People.
  33. ^ "NeNe Leakes Reveals Husband Gregg Leakes' Cancer Has Returned: 'It's Difficult'". People. Retrieved June 29, 2021.
  34. ^ Duncan, Gabrielle; Guglielmi, Jodi (September 1, 2021). "NeNe Leakes' Husband Gregg Leakes Dead from Colon Cancer at 66". People. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  35. ^ Petski, Denise; Andreeva, Nellie (March 7, 2019). "'How High 2': Mike Epps To Reprise Baby Powder Role In MTV Sequel; Premiere Date Set". Deadline Hollywood.

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