RHOA star Cynthia Bailey is sitting down with Bravo’s the Daily Dish to chat about all the drama this season; including her marriage to Peter Thomas, her fight with Porsha Williams and the return of her former frenemy NeNe Leakes later this season. See what all Bailey had to say below.
Bravo: Things seem to be better between you and NeNe these days. Weâ€™ve seen you out and about with her in New York. You came to see her perform in Chicago on Broadway. What is the status of your relationship now?
Cynthia Bailey: We are in a great place. After the reunion, we were in a good place. Now we are in a great place. Weâ€™re not back to being besties or anything, but weâ€™re friends. I feel very confident in saying that weâ€™re friends, and weâ€™re starting to talk again on a regular basis. But itâ€™s been a couple of years. We needed that time to just have that time, and I think the great thing about real friendships is that I do think they can always work themselves out, but sometimes you do need some time apart.
Bravo: Weâ€™ve seen you act a little differently this season of RHOA than in the past. To what do you attribute some of the things you did that were out of character for you, such as the confrontation you had with Porsha on the boat on Lake Lanier?
CB: Right. This season, for me, was a little stressful. Peter and I are the only couple that was actually married on this show, so I just always feel like so much pressure in terms of our relationship. Itâ€™s always under such scrutiny. Weâ€™re strong people, but sometimes itâ€™s just exhausting. And then when you have a videotape, which is not like a sex tape by any means. I mean, it was far from a scandal, in my opinion. I thought it was definitely inappropriate and embarrassing, but not, in my opinion, grounds for divorce. It was a big deal. It was a big deal. You know, it was tough getting through that and having to deal with it in real life and then having to deal with it on social media and just in public. So I was dealing with that. And I was also dealing with, you know, I have my Cynthia Bailey Eyewear line, and it takes a lot of work. Iâ€™m already busy. My eyewear line is the lead-out to my accessories empire that Iâ€™m building. I just kind of have a lot going on, so I just kind of need my personal life and my family life to be right, so when something gets crazy it just kind of messes up my whole flow.
So I was a little stressed out. When youâ€™re around the girls you always try to have your game face on. You never just really want to be a hot mess. And, you know, I was going through some things. And I think after a couple of drinks, several drinks on the boat, I had a little breaking point. A trigger was hit, and it exploded. Looking back on the show was worse to me than what actually happened. When I watched it, I just thought, “Oh my God. This is horrible. I couldnâ€™t.” I was very uncomfortable watching it, and I definitely felt like in that moment I overreacted. The main thing is I accepted full responsibility for my part, and Iâ€™m good with that.
Bravo: You were so open with your marital issues with Peter this season. Why did you decide to open up like that on the show?
CB:Â Peter and I have been together for eight years and have been married for five of those years, and Iâ€™m just at a point in this relationship and in my life. It is what it is. Take it or leave it. I feel like relationships are complex. Marriages are not easy. Thereâ€™s always ups and downs. Any of the marriages I look at where theyâ€™ve been married for 15, 20, 30, 40 years, theyâ€™ve all been through stuff. Theyâ€™ve been through hell and back, usually. I just feel like this is us. You know, this is us, and weâ€™re not perfect, and weâ€™ve never portrayed ourselves to be perfect or our marriage to be perfect, and take it or leave it.
Bravo: After that very emotional discussion the two of you had on the show earlier this season, why did you decide to move forward and work through your issues at that point?
CB: When we had that conversation on the show, Peter and I, prior to that, there wasnâ€™t a lot of effective communication. We were really in a bad place. And to be very honest, I donâ€™t think either one of us thought we were going to make it. I felt like that was one of the times during everything we had going on where I really felt like he really talked to me, and he was really vulnerable and honest. It worked because I really heard him and I believed he wanted to try and give this thing another go.
My thing is, when you are in a marriage, you really want to try and make it work. Now if it just canâ€™t work, that is fine. I have no issue getting a divorce. But I really wanted to walk away from this feeling like I gave it my all. I donâ€™t want to walk away feeling like maybe if Iâ€™d have given it one last shot when he had that really deep conversation with me, we could have made it. I donâ€™t want to live my life wondering what if. So I need complete closure if it ends, and I need to be completely happy if we stay.
Bravo: What was it like for you to watch all of these moments with Peter that you experienced in real life back on TV this season?
CB: Itâ€™s never easy to watch any of the stuff back. We live it in real life, and we deal with it in real life. And then when we watch it on the show, itâ€™s almost like itâ€™s happening again for the first time. Itâ€™s like the scab is pulled off the wound and then weâ€™ve got to deal with the whole thing again, so itâ€™s never easy. Well, this is my sixth season on the show in terms of my life on the show. Iâ€™m getting a little tougher and less sensitive and just coming to face the fact that not everyoneâ€™s going to like me or like my relationship. Iâ€™m OK with that. Before it was like, “Oh my God. Why do they feel that way? Like, Iâ€™m trying so hard to do everything right.” I think as you get older, you realize that you just have to live your life, and no one really can judge you about your life other than God. Once you are good with that, then itâ€™s just your opinion. Opinions are like buttholes. Everyone has one.
Bravo: How are things between you and Peter today?
CB: Things are better, a lot better. Weâ€™re still taking things one day at a time. Heâ€™s still spends a lot of time in Charlotte. I spend most of my time in Atlanta and New York, so itâ€™s kind of like a long-distance marriage, long-distance relationship. Weâ€™re busy working on our businesses, and we have to be. We have goals. We have plans. We want to retire at a certain age. So we kind of have to get it in now. So itâ€™s a sacrifice that weâ€™re making to be apart, but I think ultimately, if itâ€™s gonna work, itâ€™s gonna work. But we have to do what we have to do.
Bravo: What did you think about how your fellow RHOA castmates felt about Tammy McCall Browning?
CB: I think [Tammy’s] great. Iâ€™m like, hey, thereâ€™s no judgment zone here. Quirky, weird, whatever youâ€™re working with. I think sheâ€™s smart. I think sheâ€™s funny. Iâ€™m good. However, I thought it would be a little interesting how she integrated into the group because this can be a bit of a tough group. Most of the girls thought she was a little weird. They just didnâ€™t really connect with her, Iâ€™ll just say that. When you first come into the group, I think itâ€™s hard to make a connection immediately. I donâ€™t want to say she didnâ€™t get a chance to really hang out with everybody one-on-one, really get to know her. Itâ€™s hard when you just get thrown on the boat with girls and youâ€™re like, “OK, let me just be myself,” and theyâ€™re looking at you like youâ€™re crazy the whole time. Yeah, they thought she was a little weird. I prefer to call her a little quirky, just kind of doing her own thing, and Iâ€™m good with it.
Bravo: So it seems like you felt a little responsible for what happened with her in Miami.
CB: Yeah, I invited Tammy to Miami. I thought that would be a more relaxing situation to kind of get to know some of the other ladies. It was great. Everything was really great. I think, actually, some of the ladies really got to get a better feel for her and actually liked her, so I was happy about that. And then the little incident happened with her nephew and then everything just went kind of crazy. So it kind of started off on the right foot but didnâ€™t end really on a good note. But thank God she was OK in the end. Miami was the do-over for Lake Lanier. The do-over worked for me, but I almost feel like we need to do the Miami do-over because it ended so crazy.
Bravo: You recently posted some photos on Instagram of yourself with NeNe and Sheree Whitfield. Were the three of you together?
Bravo: And how was that?
CB: Yes, over the holidays I got a chance to be in New York. I went to see NeNe in Chicago. We hung out there, and once we got back to Atlanta, I laid kind of low, just rebooted, chilled, caught up on some movies, that kind of thing. But I did get an opportunity to hang out with NeNe and Sheree, and Derek J was there as well. We all went to dinner. It was just one of those, “Oh, weâ€™ve got to do something. The new yearâ€™s going to happen.” NeNe was getting ready to go to New York, and I knew I was coming up a couple of days later. So we just went to dinner. It was not that big of a deal, actually. We posted it, went to dinner, had a good time. Thatâ€™s that.
Bravo: Do you and Peter have any new yearâ€™s resolutions moving forward as a couple?
CB: Yes, our new yearâ€™s resolution is to try and stay together as a couple, first of all, to stay married, happily, and to just be better as a couple. Be better as husband and wife. You can always work on yourself and your relationship, of course. And also, we are actually trying to be healthier this year. He got really in his feelings when I said I wasnâ€™t attracted to him with his clothes off. He got really upset about it, actually. I think his feelings were really hurt. And Peterâ€™s so tough, I didnâ€™t think he would be that sensitive, but it kind of hit a spot. It inspired him to get it together, get his workout on. He lost some weight. After the conversation, I said I hold myself to the same standard, make sure I keep it together as well. It kind of inspired us in a way. First heâ€™s mad, and then he was inspired. So it kind of worked.
Being healthier is good. Weâ€™re both getting older, and we just have to take care of ourselves, and with our busy schedules we forget. I donâ€™t look at myself and be like, “Oh my God. Iâ€™m getting so much older. Iâ€™ve got to make sure I make my doctorâ€™s appointments. Iâ€™ve got to make sure Iâ€™m taking all of my vitamins.” Running around the city for years as a model, like I just ate whatever. I wasnâ€™t super healthy. I just worked and got a free pass for a long time. Now weâ€™re at a point where Iâ€™ve got to make sure to take care of myself, and he has to take care of himself as well.
Bravo: Todd Tucker and Phaedra Parks have an ongoing beef over the payment for her workout DVDs filmed a couple of years ago. What do you think about what’s going on between them?
CB: Well, first of all I think itâ€™s sometimes a little tricky to do business with friends. It just is. Sometimes, it works out, but a lot of times it doesnâ€™t. I think itâ€™s just kind of a principle thing for Todd at this point and maybe even for Phaedra, to be honest. I donâ€™t think itâ€™s going to kill Phaedra to pay him whatever she owes him. I think sheâ€™ll be just fine. I donâ€™t think she doesnâ€™t have it or anything like that. And I donâ€™t think Todd is going to be homeless if he doesnâ€™t get the money. So I donâ€™t think itâ€™s that kind of situation. She has it. He wants it. If he provided a service to me, I would pay him for the service. It just is what it is, just to prevent this kind of drama, if for no other reason, then I think you should pay for people for what they do for you. But I think itâ€™s just gotten to a point where when I look at it, itâ€™s just the principle of the situation. I did this. Youâ€™re supposed to pay me, so just pay me. Thatâ€™s it. And I think sheâ€™s looking at it like, “Well, I didnâ€™t get the finished product,” whatever it is. But I think itâ€™s something that hopefully will be resolved.
I think itâ€™s unfortunate that itâ€™s kind of filtered over into Phaedraâ€™s relationship with Kandi [Burruss], because like my relationship with NeNe, I felt like that was a strong friendship as well on the show, and I would hate for something that can really be resolved to really break up that friendship. Iâ€™ve been down that road, and good friends donâ€™t come easily. If you can save your friendship, then I think itâ€™s worth it.
Bravo: Do you see parallels between what happened between you and NeNe and what’s now going on between Kandi and Phaedra?
CB: To some degree, yes, just mostly when I think of the group. My friendship with NeNe was always really tight, and Kandi and Phaedra were always supportive of each other as well. So I definitely look at that friendship like, â€œOK, these girls are solid. This friendship is solid.â€ Weâ€™re all different, but I definitely think their friendship was one of the friendships I looked at like, “All right, these girls have each otherâ€™s back.”
Photo Credit: Bravo