NeNe Leakes, 53, popular star of the reality hit “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” fashion designer, author, comedian and actress had the distinction of being the highest-paid Housewife on Bravo during the 2015 season, Celebrity Net Worth reported. However, she is in the media now for another reason. Leakes lost her husband, 66-year-old Gregg Leakes, on Sept. 1, following a long bout with colon cancer.
Leakes is worth $14 million, most of which she earned from her appearances on RHOA, Celebrity Net Worth reported. She began appearing on the show in 2008 and was a regular for seven seasons. In 2015, she received $1 million per season. Although she did not plan to return to the show for season eight, she was still included in a supporting capacity. She did not participate in season nine. Leakes returned to the series in 2017.
Leakes said she would not be returning for season 20. Her most recent salary has not been released. Whether or not there will be a next season has not been confirmed by Leakes or Bravo.
Early Life and Marriage
NeNe was born Linnethia Monique Johnson on Dec. 13, 1967, in Queens, New York. She has four siblings, but her mom wasn’t able to properly care for all of them, so she sent Leakes and a brother to live with their aunt in Athens, Ga. Leakes modeled as a teenager and young adult. In 1989, she had a son, Bryson, who husband Gregg Leakes later adopted, according to news reports.
Leakes met future husband Gregg, an Atlanta real estate investor, in 1996, while she was employed as an exotic dancer. They were married a year later, and their son Brentt was born in winter of 1999. They divorced in 2011 only to reconnect and eventually remarry at Atlanta’s InterContinental Buckhead Hotel in early summer 2013. The wedding was documented in the limited series, “I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding,” which Bravo aired that fall.
Gregg was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2018. Leakes announced in May 2019 that her husband was cancer-free, but his cancer returned this past June, after a two-year remission. Leakes and her husband served as American Cancer Society Ambassadors during Gregg’s battle with cancer.
Leakes’ Other Endeavors
In addition to her star turn on RHOA, she appeared as the recurring character Roz in “Glee” in 2012 through 2015, according to IMDb. She also joined the “The Apprentice” in 2011. In 2014, Leakes was a contestant on the 18th season of “Dancing with the Stars,” where she lasted seven weeks before being eliminated. She has also appeared on numerous talk shows and food programs and has guest-starred on some TV and film projects.
In 2014, her clothing line, the Nene Leakes Collection, debuted on the Home Shopping Network, Celebrity Net Worth reported.
Leakes wrote her autobiography, “Never Make the Same Mistake Twice,” with author Denene Millner. The book was published in 2009.
The Leakes’ bought a mansion in the Duluth neighborhood of Atlanta in 2015, according to Celebrity Net Worth. The 10,000-square-foot estate home, located on a golf course, cost the couple $2.1 million. The Leakes previously were evicted from a leased Duluth home after falling $6,240 behind in rent.
In 2020, Leakes purchased a humbler second home in Duluth for $260,000.
Leakes also rents a home in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Former Financial Woes
In 2016, Leakes was saddled with two property liens — one for $95,232.92 and the other for $86,624 — from the state of Georgia, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Leakes also owed federal back taxes to the tune of $824,000.
Leakes hosted a celebration of her husband’s life on Sept. 6 at the Linnethia Lounge in Atlanta. RHOA stars Marlo Hampton, Phaedra Parks, Porsha Williams, Lisa Wu and Eva Marcille were present, according to The Grio. Yolanda Adams, Kim Burrell, Le’Andria Johnson and Keke Wyatt performed. Celebrity Net Worth reported that Gregg Leakes had a net worth of $4 million upon his death.
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