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Linnethia Monique "NeNe" Leakes (/ˈniːniː/; néeJohnson; born December 13, 1967) is an American television personality, actress, producer, author and fashion designer. She is best known for her seven year stint on the reality television series The Real Housewives of Atlanta as an original cast member and for her recurring character Roz Washington on the sitcomGlee. She also played Rocky Rhoades as a series regular on the award-winning sitcom The New Normal on NBC until its cancellation in 2013. Currently, she is one of the main judges on ABC's revival of the 50s game show To Tell The Truth along with Betty White, which is slated to air in 2016.
Linnethia Monique Johnson was born December 13, 1967, in the New York City, New York, borough of Queens. She was sent to live with an aunt in Athens, Georgia when she was 4, and tried her luck in acting for many years without success.
In 2008, Leakes made her first appearance on The Real Housewives of Atlanta. After the first season, she co-wrote with Denene Milner the book Never Make The Same Mistake Twice. Leakes has been a part of the cast for all seven seasons. Leakes has also transitioned into scripted television, playing sassy secretary Rocky Roades in the NBC comedy The New Normal.Ryan Murphy cast NeNe on his series Glee in the third season in a recurring role as synchronized swim coach and Olympic bronze-medalist Coach Roz Washington. In 2011, Leakes was a contestant on the eleventh installment of Donald Trump's NBC series Celebrity Apprentice. During the tenth episode of Apprentice, after arguments with fellow cast member Star Jones, Leakes walked off the show. Leakes failed to win any money for her selected charity, "My Sister's House".
In February 2014, Leakes announced that she will be launching her clothing line later on in the year. On the 28th of July 2014, Leakes launched The Nene Leakes Collection for the Home Shopping Network (HSN). The collection sold out just days after the launch of the line, making it an instant success. "We took meetings with a lot of different people. And HSN actually felt right," Leakes said. "When they walked into the room we totally clicked. And you need to really work with people who really understand and get you." She announced[where?] that more pieces will be added to the collection in October 2014 and that it will expand into jewelry in January 2015.
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. In October 2011, Leakes released a memoir describing her experiences with abuse called Never Make the Same Mistake Twice: Lessons on Love and Life Learned the Hard Way. NeNe and Gregg Leakes reunited and announced that they were engaged in January 2013. Bravo filmed their wedding planning and ceremony for a spin-off entitled I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding. NeNe and Gregg remarried on June 22, 2013, at the InterContinental Buckhead Hotel in Atlanta.