After taking some much-needed time away from the spotlight and The Real Housewives Of Atlanta, Porsha Williams is back. She makes her grand return for Peacock’s third season of Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip, appearing alongside seven other Real Housewives franchise stars, including Potomac’s Candiace Dillard Bassett and Gizelle Bryant. Season 3 of UGT is set in tropical Thailand, and although the scenery was beautiful, that didn’t stop some ladies from engaging in drama.
Fortunately for Williams, she’s used to navigating reality television’s highs and inevitable lows as an RHOA veteran. Instead of participating in catty drama, or “baby shade,” as Williams calls it, she decided to leverage the show as an opportunity to tell her truth regarding recent life updates, such as her marriage to Simon Guobadia and the ups and downs of motherhood.
Williams and Guobadia had two wedding ceremonies last November after announcing their engagement in May 2021 following one month of dating and dealing with a boatload of rumors about their relationship’s beginnings. These days, Williams is focused on her happiness and peace, intentionally cultivating the right energy around her. ESSENCE sat down with her to chat about self-care, maintaining your peace, motherhood, partnership, and the healing power of sisterhood.
ESSENCE: How is UGT a departure from the Real Housewives of Atlanta for you?
Porsha Williams: The most significant difference is that we broke the fourth wall the entire time. This time, it was different for housewives on vacation from their perspective shows. Once I arrived in Thailand, each girl intended to get to know each other. We treated each other just like girlfriends. And so we bonded probably the second day, not the first, but the second day.
Why did you leave RHOA? For self-care and peace purposes?
I had been on RHOA at that point, for 10 years, including summers. And I told my manager, it was about six months, even before the Season 13 reunion, to be honest with you, that I would let that be my last year. And that was because I felt like I needed to reroute who Porsha was. I have done a lot of growing. I wanted to experience that growth off-camera. And I’ve been able to do that. I found love, I got married, and Simon and I have a beautiful blended family. With this partnership being my last marriage, I prioritized being rooted in my family and having a great foundation.
I wanted to ensure that I took time as a 40-year-old mother to reassess. I thank God I had the financial ability to say, “You know what, I want to take a step back.” I knew I had the talent to do reality television again. All these years, I’ve had my head down, and I’ve been working to give the new Porsha a chance without the cameras. Sometimes you can get caught up on television, and it’s not an accurate representation of who you are. So I wanted to test out the new Porsha and be a full-time mom in the real world. It’s been beautiful. It’s been what I needed, and the time away has strengthened me.
Why did you decide to be on this show?
I told myself I wanted to have a different experience. I wanted to come in and reintroduce these girls and the world watching to who I am now, without anything attached to it. I also love the concept of having housewives just on vacation and getting to know each other. Yes, somebody could drag me back into some drama here or there, but mostly, if you’re there for just a short period, you want to get to know each other. You want to have a good time. It’s like, who flies to Thailand and is on some nicknack paddywhack? We are here to have a good time and bond quickly. And that’s what it ended up being for me. So I’m glad I said yes and wish I would have said yes faster. I told Bravo to invite me on every single trip.
You were very candid about hot-button topics in your personal life on the show and even opened up about your postpartum depression. What made you share those intimate details with the cast?
The audience didn’t know I was experiencing postpartum depression because you all watched me go through it. I didn’t realize I had postpartum depression during that season of RHOA. Later, I discovered I had it.
But I felt open enough to talk about it on UGT because I was around other mothers. My castmates weren’t fake about anything we were talking about. It felt like we were having honest conversations as if the cameras weren’t there. I felt comfortable.
During my time away from reality television, I realized my impact as a TV personality as someone people could relate to over the years. And I know that I carry a certain level of responsibility to be open and honest and to tell my truth, my story, and my testimony because it can help people. So I’m very open when it’s a safe space. The way RHOA was edited when I was going through postpartum, it may seem like I just cried for two episodes, and then boom, she’s back out. That’s not actually how it happened. And that’s what is great about the UGT as well. Yes, it’s fun. Yes, we had crazy moments. But we were giving the fans an inside look at the life we’re living on camera, how it is off camera, and how we balance it all. It was heartwarming for me to have that experience with other housewives, to talk about our work and lives transparently.
How did it feel to speak your truth about the negative rumors about your marriage?
I took that as an opportunity. And in the past, people have viewed me as not speaking openly about the subject or thought I ran away from RHOA because I didn’t want to talk about the rumors. There are times to speak, and there are times to be quiet. There are times when silence and time will speak for you. And time has spoken for me. The truth came to light all on its own. I was just there to give context to it. And also it was very sensitive. I didn’t want to speak about someone else’s relationship. I just wanted to stay in my lane in my space. I felt comfortable opening up on UGT. The time was right, as Instagram wasn’t the platform for that conversation. Everything worked out the way it was supposed to work out.
How is married life for you and Simon? What’s your favorite part of being married to him?
Our married life is beautiful because we have an outstanding balance. We want to see each other smile every single day. I want him to feel fulfilled in his marriage; I want him to be pleased. We both put in the same effort. You know, people say that marriage is work, and it is. When one person puts in all the effort, it feels like a burden. But when you have both people competing for each other’s love that we already have, it’s just so fulfilling. We also communicate well. It’s like having a best friend. It’s nothing that I go through that we can’t talk about together. The love is on the next level, and having such a great foundation and a support system to step back out here in the world. Having that confidence, starting from home, from my support system, has been amazing.
The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip is now streaming on Peacock. You can catch new episodes every Thursday.