Even though viewers already knew that Real Housewives Of Atlanta stars Cynthia Bailey and Peter Thomas’ marriage is over, but that didn’t make watching Bailey file for divorce on Sunday nights’ season 9 premiere any easier to watch.
“Shit just got real,” Bailey said after visiting her lawyer for the first time to tell him her plans to file for divorce from Thomas, who she married on season 3 of the show in 2011.
We learn that the soon-to-be exes are still living apart, and they haven’t seen each other for months. Thomas is living in Charlotte working on new business ventures while Bailey still lives in Atlanta and is beginning to adjust to a life without her husband in it.
Last season, as their relationship began to unravel, Thomas told Bailey: “We can’t continue like this. Somebody needs an escape route.” Now the show is giving fans a front row seat to the dissolution of their marriage, and it’s more than a little uncomfortable for everyone involved.
“I just want to move on,” the 48-year-old model admits to the camera during a somber confessional. “Peter and I have never painted a picture that our relationship was perfect.”
After her lawyer briefs her on Georgia alimony laws and recommends the ex lovers begin with a separation agreement, Bailey makes it clear that there was no dramatic cause to the demise of their marriage, and that she’s only after her freedom—and one other thing.
“There’s been no infidelity and no desertion,” she insists when questioned by her lawyer. “It’s more me than him. The only thing that I really want is the house. The house is actually in my name.”
Getting the wheels rolling on the divorce wasn’t an easy action for Bailey to take. “Not living together is one thing, but actually sitting down with a lawyer to discuss permanent options to really not be together for real is scary,” she told cameras.
If your heart almost broke while watching a seemingly defeated Bailey rest her head on the steering wheel inside her car before pulling off from the parking lot at her lawyer’s office, you’re not alone. Ours did too. Divorce sucks, we know, but watching one unfold with cameras following the heartbreak step-by-step is even worse.
Then came that awkward video call that was perhaps even more gut wrenching to witness than the lawyer visit. Bailey called to ask Thomas if he knew where she could find their prenup agreement, but it didn’t go over very well.
“I’m with my new girlfriend, my new relationship, my business,” he joked. Only it wasn’t funny at all. “Why you face timing me? You know I haven’t seen you in three months.”
Ouch. We didn’t want it to, but the moment between them only became more intense, and not in the way Bailey hoped.
“I remember saying I really don’t want anything from you,” Thomas told his estranged wife via video chat. “Well, the only thing I wanted from you was you. I remember saying that. I’m looking at your face and I haven’t seen it in a long time. I miss that face. That’s fucked up.”
Bailey immediately ended their call. She was visibly shaken and unable to bring herself to respond to what her husband had just said to her.
“When I decided to get married to Peter, he knew I’m not the type of woman who just wants to stay in something to be in something,” she later explained. “Peter is built a little differently. He will stay in the relationship just to be in the relationship and that just doesn’t work for me.”
If you were hoping Thomas’ pleas means the couple could be moving toward reconciliation, Bailey quickly shut that idea down.
“Peter has good days and bad days,” she explained. “Some days he can just be like, ‘Okay, I get it. Let’s just do this.’ And then another day it’s like, ‘You never tried. You just gave up.’ So it’s been a lot of back and forth. A lot of ups and downs.”
For now, it looks like Bailey is fighting to strong and positive as she navigates her new single life. Late in the premiere she arrived to castmate Kenya Moore’s big housewarming in a lighter mode and offered her inspirational words to help her cope with her split from ex-boyfriend Matt Jordan.
While this won’t be the last of the divorce drama, like Bailey, we could also use a moment to collect ourselves. Nobody likes an unhappy ending, especially for one of our favorite Atlanta wives.