The Evolution of ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta'

For eight seasons we've watched the cast of Real Houswewives of Atlanta grow and evolve. The likes of NeNe Leaks, Kandi Burruss, and Phaedra Parks have given us front row seats to their lives—from new loves and business to divorce, and, of course, drama! Here is a snapshot of the 'then' and 'now' of the Real Housewives of Atlanta.

Whitney Gaspard Nov, 09, 2014

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NeNe Leakes has never been one to hold her tongue when asked her opinion oftentimes creating drama on The Real Housewives of Atlanta. She's made a name for herself as the outspoken housewife. We've watched NeNe make and break friendships with cast mates, but one union she was able to repair was her relationship to longtime husband Greg Leakes, who she divorced and remarried all in the span of three seasons. 

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Her tell-it-like-it-is personality has catapulated her into a level of stardom that proves she is in fact a cut above the rest. After stints on Glee, The New Normal and Cirque du Soleil's "Zumanity" in Las Vegas, NeNe continues to excerise her strengths as an entertainer. Up next for NeNe, stints on E!s Fashion Police and the upcoming ABC reboot of the classic game show To Tell the Truth.

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Phaedra was introduced to us as Sheree Whitfield's child support lawyer in season 3. The self-proclaimed southern belle took us all by surprise when we learned Parks was married to a younger man with a questionable rap sheet.

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In 2014, Phaedra's husband Apollo Nida was sentenced to eight years in prison for fraud. This year, Phaedra filed for divorce from Nida who fathers her two children, Dylan and Ayden. As for the future, the licensed mortician has her eyes set on kick-starting her funeral home business and possibly getting into politics?

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A former member of Xscape, Kandi has had many ups and downs since joining the housewives. After the untimely death of her fiancé in 2009, we watched as Kandi worked to piece her life back together finally finding love again in Todd. 

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Although her Mama Joyce fought tirelessly against their union, Kandi and Todd finally married in 2014 on Kandi's spin-off show The Real Housewives of Atlanta Kandi's Wedding special. The couple welcomed their first child, Ace Wells Tucker, in January 2016.

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A former Essence cover girl, Cynthia Bailey won us over with her sweet demeanor and stellar beauty in season 3. We watched as Cynthia worked to mend the rocky relationship between her then boyfriend, Peter Thomas, and nosey sister and mother. In season 4, Cynthia and Peter tied the knot in a beautiful ceremony, but things were far from happily ever after for the couple. A number of failed business ventures and financial struggles had Peter and Cynthia on the brink of separation. Cynthia leaned on best friend NeNe as a support system during this time.

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Cynthia and Peter are stronger than ever in their marriage, and her friendship with NeNe Leakes is back on after a year of strife. Besides her eyewear line, Cynthia's 'Bailey Agency School of Fashion' is where the supermodel is spending most of her hours nowadays.

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The former Miss USA twirled onto the scene in season five and has managed to keep us all entertained with her many Kenya-isms and shady remarks. From the Apollo textgate to the eviction drama, it goes without saying that where ever Kenya is, drama is sure to follow. Last season's huge blowout between Kenya and Porsha has many wondering, will Kenya finally retire her shady queen crown?

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Now Kenya has settled in a new home and revived her career. All she's missing is the family she's dreamed of. Ever the romantic, we are sure to see Kenya continue to search of her knight in shining armor. Coul Matt Jordan be the one?

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Porsha was introduced in season 5 as the young, bubbly house wife of former NFL quarterback Kordell Stewart. Her wide-eyed and sometimes airy personality quickly made Porsha a target for the other housewives. Last season, the newbie got in a shade throwing battle with castmate Kenya Moore that led to a physical altercation during the reunion special that nearly costed her her peach.

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Nearly two years after a public and very nasty divorce from husband Kordell Stewart, Porsha is in full recovery. She purchased her first home alone and is on the path of self discovery. She currently co-hosts the entertainment television show, Dish Nation and is gearing up to appear on Celebrity Apprentice.

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The fashion-forward housewife made quite a splash in her three seasons on the show. She was introduced as a fitness-driven single mom of three who was still reeling from a messy divorce from her NFL player husband. After one season on the show, things seemed to be spiraling out of control for Whitfield. Her failed separation party resulted in one of the most memorable shouting matches of the entire franchise. Plus, it gave us the iconic "Who gon check me boo?" phrase.

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She's baaaack! After a three-season absence, Whitfield returned fro season 8 of RHOA. This season we got to see her try and reconcile with her estranged husband, Bob Whitfield, and from the looks of it, these two may be gettng back together.

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For five seasons, we had front row seats to the ups and downs of Kim Zolciak's crazy life. With an expansive collection of blonde wigs, her publicly private engagement to 'Big Poppa' and her budding singing career, Kim knew just how to keep us all on our toes. We watched as her friendship with co-star NeNe fell to pieces at the same time that Kim's music career took off with her first single, "Tardy for the Party".

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Shortly before leaving the Real Housewives of Atlanta, the reality star gave birth to her fourth child, son Kash Kade, on August 15, 2012 with NFL husband Kroy Biermann. She landed a successful spin-off show, Don't Be Tardy, that followed her life as a real housewife and mother of six in her lavish new home with hubby Kroy. A spin-off show with NeNe Leakes—called NeNe and Kim: The Road to Riches—was announced in 2015 but later shelved by Bravo.

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In the first season of Real Housewives, Lisa Wu-Hartwell seemed to be the most balanced of the wives steering clear of all the drama. She put the 'hot' in Hotlanta as the fit on-the-go mother of three that balanced a hectic life as a busy real estate agent. Her ambitious personality drove her to create her own jewlery line, East Meets West. But after two years of catty drama, Wu-Hartwell decided to retire her peach.

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After five years of marriage, Lisa Wu divorced NFL husband Ed Hartwell and reignited her passion for acting. Today Wu stars in TV One's newest reality series Hollywood Divas that follows her as she tries to make it in Hollywood as an actress.

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DeShawn Snow was introduced to us in the original 2008 cast of the Real Housewives. Married to former NBA basketball player Eric Snow, DeShawn was often the peacemaker between cast members. DeShawn was a socialite and philanthropist who spent her days working to develop her not-for-profit 'The DeShawn Snow Foundation' for disadvantaged youth. But after one season, producers didn't see how DeShawn's laid-back persona fit in with the other wives.

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Soon after she was let go from Atlanta Housewives, DeShawn's seemingly steady life was turned upside down. She divorced her husband of twelve years, dropped more than 30 lbs and reinvented herself as author of the tween book series, Lil Shawnee.