After bringing in the new year with Diddy, "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Sheree is ready for a fabulous year, including another hot season of her Bravo reality show. The newly divorced fashion designer sat down with ESSENCE.com to dish on life in the fast lane, the disappointment of her divorce settlement, and why 2009 is the year of Sheree.
ESSENCE.COM: Happy New Year, Sheree! You just celebrated your birthday in a big way in Atlanta. No one was left outside this year like NeNe was on the show, right?
SHERRE WHITFIELD: (Laughs.) No, nobody was left out. The funny thing was, everyone text messaged me asking if they would be okay at the door, and saying they didn’t want to be NeNe’d. I was still in Miami on my birthday, so I came back that evening and didn’t really plan anything big. I had a lot of new and old friends [there] and had a great time. Kim was supposed to come, but something came up. No one got NeNe’d at the door.
ESSENCE.COM: Congrats on your divorce being finalized. Are you still pursuing your appeal?
WHITFIELD: I dropped the appeal because somebody wasn’t doing what they were supposed to do and pretty much squandered the money. People don’t know the story and I really haven’t spoken on it. You will read in the paper I haven’t received child support in 15 months. It’s actually 17 months. Hopefully, all will prevail and what’s done in the dark will come to the light. It’s officially over and it feels good to have it on paper and definitely gives you and lot of other people peace of mind.
ESSENCE.COM: Were you surprised how things turned out?
WHITFIELD: Of course. No one gets married thinking you’re going to get divorced. [And] when it does [happen], you think that person is at least going to do the right thing by their kids. It’s not about me and you. By trying to make me suffer, you make the kids suffer. And not even monetary, it’s a lot deeper than that.
ESSENCE.COM: Definitely. So are the reports true that you had to move from your home?
WHITFIELD: No, I’m still in the house, though I am looking to move. It’s funny because they had "Sheree is broke and can’t afford her house." Honestly, this house has been on and off the market for three years. People kill me. I’m on the journey to being self-sufficient and to make money for generations with companies I can pass down, so I can leave something for my kids because he definitely didn’t try to do that. I am ready to move and start my new beginning and focus on my new life.
ESSENCE.COM: Definitely. How has the show impacted your dating life?
WHITFIELD: I get a lot of guys approaching me asking me, "Will you marry me?" and sending e-mails. It’s very flattering. I even get it when I’m with my kids, which is kind of weird. They definitely are approaching but so far I don’t think I’ve met Mr. Right. I want to be able to feel it a little bit and say this may be The One.
ESSENCE.COM: There are rumors radio personality Frank Ski's wife, Tanya, and basketball player Julius “Dr. J” Ervings's wife, Dorys, are joining the cast. Do you know the latest and how will new members impact the show?
WHITFIELD: I’ve heard those rumors too, and I think both of those women are absolutely fabulous. I think either one of them would be an asset and are grounded. I keep to myself and I can get along with whomever. I can roll. I can go there too, but I'd rather not.
ESSENCE.COM: What are you looking forward to this year, and is it true you are showing at New York Fashion Week in February?
WHITFIELD: No, I’m not showing at Fashion Week. My line will be in stores in the fall and my Web site, ShereeWhitfield.com, is up. 2009 is a hot year. Barack is going into office and Michelle Obama is by his side. She’s awesome and is a great example. 2009 is Sheree’s year, girl. Let my haters be my motivators.