Sheree Whitfield, one of the original cast members of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, is returning to the reality show Sunday with the premiere of season 8.
Since leaving the show in 2012, after four season, Whitfield has decided to pick back up her Atlanta peach.
“At the time, I was going though this huge child support battle with my kids’ dad. I felt like my kids were growing up before my eyes and I wasn’t there. It was a lot of stress, drama, and a lot on me,” Whitfield tells theGrio of her reason for leaving the show.
Earlier this year, NeNe Leakes announced that she would leaving RHOA, but she is reported to be making an appearance on the show later this season.
Whitfield says NeNe adds value to the show.
“I think it’s a group effort, honestly. I’m pro first season. I don’t think it gets any better than that cast. But I definitely think that it’s a group effort. Can she do it alone? Absolutely not, but does she add an added value. Absolutely.”
Last month, Whitfield posted photos to Instagram while attending the 20th anniversary of The Million Man March in D.C. with cast member Porsha Williams and Phaedra Parks.
Whitfield confirmed that RHOA cameras were rolling at The Million Man March but says the ladies’ presence wasn’t a publicity stunt.
“I was invited by Phaedra,” Sheree recalled. “When you watch it, you’ll see that she definitely has a lot of positive things going on in the political arena. Just going and being invited and being able to take my son so he can see all of these men of different walks of life come together for a positive cause was amazing. What you usually see on TV is the violence and that black people can’t get along, but this was positive. It definitely wasn’t a publicity stunt.”
Checkout theGrio’s full interview with Sheree Whitfield below:
theGrio: For those that still don’t know, why did you leave the show in 2012?
Sheree: At the time, I was going though this huge child support battle with my kids’ dad. I felt like my kids were growing up before my eyes and I wasn’t there. It was a lot of stress, drama, and a lot on me. When I was doing this show, it was my real life. A lot of the shows now are scripted; it was like real sh*t. It was heavy. When I did pull away, it was like a weight lifted off of my shoulders. I didn’t want to leave the house for a couple of years.
What was the weight on your shoulders?
The weight was dealing with all the bullsh**t. Being on the show, it was a lot of drama, and the extra drama was my personal life. After the cameras go down, I still had to deal with this stuff.
NeNe recently posted to a picture to Instagram that has everyone talking about her returning to the RHOA, just months after leaving the show. Is NeNe an integral part of the show’s success?
I think it’s a group effort honestly. I’m pro-first season. I don’t think it gets any better than that cast. But I definitely think that it’s a group effort. Can she do it alone? Absolutely not, but does she add an added value. Absolutely.
An inspiring part of your story is that you had a child at 15 years old. What was the biggest lesson that you learned from that experience?
It was absolutely tough. I had a great support system with my mom and my brother. It was that one time, and I just sort of got caught up. At the time back then, there was a lot that you could do now that you couldn’t do back then.
My mom actually had a daughter when she was young, 16 or 17. She was put up for adoption a long time ago in Ohio. In Ohio, they had a ban on finding out who your adoptive parents were until this year. So this year, my mom’s daughter applied… so I actually just met her for the very first time, and she’s 51 or 52. We’re trying to work that dynamic. I’m happy to say that my daughter has broken the cycle. She has not had any kids yet and won’t until she gets married.
What’s the status of you and your ex-husband Bob Whitfield’s relationship now?
That whole thing played out on TV where you clearly saw that we were not on the same page on a lot of things. Over the years, it kind of continued that way. If you saw, I recently went to the Million Man March with Phaedra and Porsha, and I took my 19-year-old son. I’ve always known that I can’t raise my son to be a man. I really want his dad to be a lot more active, and I want us to be co-parents.
Bob’s coming to Jamaica with us trying to be friendly, but the ultimate goal is us becoming better co-parents, and whatever happens after that, we’ll roll with the punches.
So you’re not ruling out romance?
I like to never say never, but my focus now is on parenting.
I saw Phaedra Parks, Porsha Williams and you at the Million Man March this year. What more can RHOA do to tackle social causes within the black community?
I think it’s super important. Phaedra and I went because we do have black boys. With all that’s happening around the world, around the state, it’s definitely important that we show a more positive supportive side of what’s going on because we do have these boys. A lot of times people just want to see the drama, but this show needs to be more than just the drama.
Had an awesome weekend in DC with this crew right here!! ?So happy I was able to experience this with my 19 yr old son!!! Thanks for the pics guys…I have zero… #MyPhoneWasDead @repostapp @phaedraparks So happy I was able to share an amazing day with my sons, brother and friends @hlparks @porsha4real @shereewhitfield #JusticeOrElse #MMM2015
The Million Man March was a part of history. So for us to be there and to enlighten so many different people and for people to see us, it’s a great thing and it opens up other mothers and women to get involved.
What do you say to skeptics that might believe you ladies being at the Million Man March was just a stunt to promote this season’s show?
Absolutely false. I was invited by Phaedra. When you watch it, you’ll see that she definitely has a lot of positive things going on in the political arena. Just going and being invited and being able to take my son so he can see all of these men of different walks of life come together for a positive cause was amazing, What you usually see on TV is the violence and that black people can’t get along, but this was positive. It definitely wasn’t a publicity stunt.
Did you guys film while you were at the march for RHOA?
We did film.
Be sure to catch the premiere of RHOA season 8 Sunday at 8/7c on Bravo.
Yesterday we turned a moment into a movement. Today we held hands and prayed & thanked God for an awesome day of refocusing & recharging-despite what people thought and wanted to happen–It was peaceful and full or #love&unity! No one was drinking, smoking and no one was arrested! No man can stop what God has ordained! #MMM2015