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NeNe and Cynthia

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The ladies of The Real Housewives of Atlanta are back filming Season 13 of the hit show, and according to Cynthia Bailey, things are quite different.

The cast is shooting in the time of COVID-19, so extra precautions have to be taken regularly to keep everyone safe. That means the cast gets tested weekly, they often wear masks and face shields, and their homes are disinfected consistently because they film from home a lot more now. Georgia has a number of hot spot spots, so the measures are necessary.

“You guys are going to get a very entertaining Season 13, but it’s going to be a little different,” said Bailey during the E! Just the Sip podcast.

But another major difference in filming this season is the fact that it’s still unclear if NeNe Leakes will return. Bailey said she hasn’t seen the RHOA vet yet and addressed rumors that Leakes is not coming back amid extended contract negotiations.

“First and foremost, I don’t really have any real answers for you to be honest. All I know is what I read and see on the blogs, too. So I can just tell you I haven’t filmed anything with her or seen her. That’s that,” she said. “In terms of contract negotiations, it’s not unusual for people to still be negotiating their contract. We’ve been over here filming for about two months now but I’m just saying. It’s not super unusual. However, at the end of the day and I mean this, NeNe and I are where we are now, but for a long time she was a very, very good friend of mine who I loved very much and who I still have love for. I want her to do what is best for her. She was one of the OGs on the show. When you think of Real Housewives of Atlanta, you do think of NeNe. She’s great for the show. I hope they work it out, but that’s between her and the network.”

Leakes recently deleted her Instagram page amid claims from former Real Housewives of Orange County‘s Tamra Judge that the star was done with the Atlanta franchise. And though her Twitter is still active, Leakes’ last tweet was an emotional one on August 25 about the importance of supporting Black women.

It should also be mentioned that she recently implied that Bravo and Andy Cohen have a lot of work to do to address the contrast in treatment of the personalities on their series amid the axing of a few Vanderpump Rules stars for past racist behavior. She has always been outspoken about feeling mistreated.

She had a particularly rough Season 12, finding herself trying to get back in the good graces of her cast mates and bumping heads to the point of almost physically tussling with Kenya Moore. Leakes said that the reunion that concluded Season 12, despite the social distancing that was required, may have been the hardest one yet.

“I’m seeing a therapist,” she said on Instagram Live.  “I’ve had a phone call with the therapist. We haven’t seen each other in person because we can’t, because of quarantine. But, I felt very traumatized. I think, a lot of times, people see the tough exterior and they don’t really know that you hurt inside sometimes like everybody else.”

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