The March 19 episode of Real Housewives of Atlanta was chockful of the show’s usual shady shenanigans.
But the episode was also the final nail in the coffin for the relationship between castmate Sheree Whitfield and her ex-husband, former NFLer Bob Whitfield, who have spent much of season 9 trying to rebuild their relationship after a messy and painful divorce years ago.
The couple had an emotional sit-down during the cast trip to Maui, in which Sheree accused Bob of never really acknowledging the struggles that he put her through after the divorce.
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“I feel like me being able to talk about it and release it, it’s going to do something for me,” she said during her confessional. “But as far as he and I, it’s over.”
If you’re wondering exactly what may have led to this emotional breakthrough. Here is some background on their rocky on-and-off relationship:
Divorced From the Start
The saga that is Bob and Sheree Whitfield’s past has been a storyline since the very first season of the popular franchise in 2008. By the time the first episode aired, the divorce proceedings surrounding their seven-year marriage was coming to an end.
“We started out really good friends then things changed,” she said during the first-ever episode of the hit reality show.
Bob was a football player for the Atlanta Falcons from 1992 to 2003, but we meet the couple years after he has stopped playing pro ball.
Much of the drama between the exes that played out on the show was based on accusations that Bob was refusing to pay child support for the couple’s two children Kairo and Kaleigh.
Sheree was often accussed of marrying Bob for his money, a fact she has always vehemently denied.
From throwing drinks to court appearances, the duo endured their emotional turmoil on camera.
A Fresh Start
By the taping of the most recent season, Sheree says they had developed a friendship. By this point, she had left and made her comeback on the popular show and the couple had already learned to be cordial for the sake of their children.
“My oldest daughter had a birthday party at a bowling alley and we were actually around each other for the first time in a very long time and we actually had a good time hanging out and bowling,” she told Essence.com last year. “Aside from that, we’d both matured. It was bitter and there was a lot of anger and a lot of hurt. At the end of the day I think we both realized with growth that that doesn’t matter. We need to put all of that aside and what’s important is our family and our kids.”
And she seemed similarly positive when talking about their relationship this year: “You know, I’m actually loving where we are now. I wish we could have been in this space years ago. I think it would have been so beneficial for our family. And definitely for our kids seeing a positive environment with their mom and dad,” Sheree told The Daily Dish about being on better terms with the former football pro. “But I’m loving it right now.”
Old Wounds Reopened
The show’s recent episodes have revealed that abuse was also a big factor in their marriage. During the getaway to Maui, Sheree awkwardly confronts Bob about being physically abusive to her and choking her. Bob clumsily denied her claims, and went on to make crass jokes about the ordeal. Which was heartbreaking to fans.
This car scene was the catalyst that forced Sheree to decide that a new relationship with her ex would never work.
“Bob is, he’s fun and that’s one of the things that I fell in love with him about,“ she told the Daily Dish ”But at the end of the day, so much happened and transpired in our relationship previously that I feel like we need to work on why those things happened and move forward and we need to address a lot of things.”
If you’re suffering from domestic violence or know someone who is, you can find more information and urgent support near you here.