When Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” premiered in 2008, Nene Leakes instantly became a fan favorite for her outrageous antics and quick reads.
Although Leakes solidified her placement in popular culture early on, her financial gains did not initially match her growing fame.
“The first two or three seasons, we weren’t getting nothing, honey,” Leakes said during an interview with the podcast “Reality With the King. ”We filmed that show, we knocked it out of the park, and we didn’t get anything.”
Today, Leakes has an estimated net worth of $14 million.
Inside Leake’s Fortune
In addition to starring on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” she was a regular on shows such as “New Normal” and “Glee.” She currently owns the SWAGG clothing boutiques with two locations, one at Maryland’s MGM National Harbor and one in Miami. She is also the owner of Linnethia Lounge, a nightclub in the Atlanta suburb of Duluth.
But back in 2008, Leakes was an original cast member of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” along with Kim Zolciak and Sheree Whitfield. She left the show in 2015 and made appearances as a guest to the show before returning in 2017. Leakes left the show again in 2020 and filed a 2022 lawsuit against Bravo, NBC Universal, and the show’s producer Andy Cohen charging the defendants with violating federal employment and anti-discrimination laws. She later dropped the lawsuit and has not returned to “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” — even as a guest.
Cast Brings The Laughs, Demands Bravo Show The Money
When “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” hit television screens, it was the first predominately Black ensemble in the “Real Housewives” franchise, and it was an instant success. During the first season, the show reached 2 million viewers among adults between the ages of 18-49 and had 1.495 million viewers, according to data released by the network. In addition, the show received the most video streams from a freshman series on the network, with 4.5 million streams and 29.2 million page views.
In the recent interview with television producer Carlos King on his “Reality With the King” podcast, Leakes shared how cast members on the hit show had to negotiate for salary increases as their popularity soared.
In the first season of RHOA, she said she earned a total of $10,000 and filmed for three months. By Season 2, Leakes and other cast mates saw a significant increase in salary–$50,000 per season. By the third season, cast members were making $100,000, but that was only because the cast staged a united front, hired an attorney, and fought for an increase and equal pay.
“I think we got $100,000,” NeNe recalled of their Season 3 contract. “It was maybe, at the most, $150,000. We started to make a bag for Season 4.”
As Leake’s popularity continued to rise, so did her paycheck. At the height of her tenure on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” she was earning $1 million per season, making her the highest-paid housewife on Bravo.