Leakes at the PaleyFest 2013 panel
|Born||Linnethia Monique Johnson
(1967-12-13) December 13, 1967
Queens, New York, U.S.
|Residence||Duluth, Georgia, U.S.
Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles, U.S.
|Home town||Athens, Georgia, U.S.|
|Spouse(s)||Gregg Leakes (m. 1997–2011, 2013–present)|
Linnethia Monique “NeNe” Leakes (/ˈniːni liːks/; née Johnson; born December 13, 1966 or December 13, 1967) (sources differ) is an American television personality, actress, presenter, author, and fashion designer. Born in Queens, New York and raised in Athens, Georgia, she is best known for appearing on the reality television series The Real Housewives of Atlanta as an original cast member and for her recurring character Roz Washington on the Fox sitcom Glee.
She also played Rocky Rhoades as a series regular on the sitcom The New Normal on NBC until its cancellation in 2013. She has also participated on Donald Trump‘s The Celebrity Apprentice and ABC Dancing with the Stars. Leakes made her Broadway debut as Madame in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella in 2014 and in 2015 played Matron “Mama” Morton in Chicago.
She was one of the regular panelists on ABC‘s revival of the 1950s game show To Tell The Truth. In addition to her television projects, Leakes has launched a clothing line on Home Shopping Network, and has a national comedy tour entitled “So Nasty, So Rude”.
Linnethia Monique Johnson was born in Queens. One of five children, she and one of her brothers were sent to live with an aunt in Athens, Georgia, while the other three children stayed with her mother; because it was believed that her mother could not take care of all five.
Before Leakes met the producers of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, she had appeared on TV shows like The Parkers. In 2003, she had also landed a minor role as a stripper in the film The Fighting Temptations, starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Beyoncé. However, none of her scenes are present in the final edit of the movie, therefore she is not credited for her work on the production.
In 2008, Leakes made her first appearance on The Real Housewives of Atlanta. After the first season, she co-wrote with Denene Millner the book Never Make The Same Mistake Twice. Leakes was a part of the cast for the first seven seasons. In June 2015 Leakes announced she would not return to the Real Housewives of Atlanta for the eighth season. However, Leakes did feature in season 8 of the Real Housewives of Atlanta in a supporting role, reportedly earning her full salary from the previous seven seasons.
Leakes has also transitioned into scripted television, playing the secretary Rocky Roades in the NBC comedy The New Normal. Ryan Murphy cast Leakes on his series Glee in the third season in a recurring role as synchronized swim coach and Olympic bronze-medalist Coach Roz Washington. In 2011, Leakes was a contestant on the eleventh installment of Donald Trump‘s NBC series Celebrity Apprentice. During the tenth episode of Apprentice, after arguments with fellow cast member Star Jones, Leakes walked off the show. Leakes failed to win any money for her selected charity, My Sister’s House.
Leakes has guest-hosted Anderson Live, The Talk, and appeared in Betty White’s Off Their Rockers and The Price Is Right. On March 4, 2014 she was announced as one of the celebrities who would compete in the 18th season of Dancing with the Stars. She paired with professional dancer, Tony Dovolani. Leakes and Dovolani were eliminated in Week 7 of competition (Latin Night) on April 28, 2014, finishing in 7th place.
As well as competing on Dancing with the Stars, Leakes played the Mistress of Sensuality in Las Vegas, for resident show Cirque du Soleil: Zumanity. She made her Broadway debut on November 25, 2014, as Madame in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella. She played the role until the production closed on January 3, 2015. In November 2015, she was cast as playing Matron “Mama” Morton in Chicago on Broadway for four weeks. On November 17, 2015, Leakes appeared on The View to promote Chicago, headlines started when she claimed via Twitter that the women of show, specifically Joy Behar and Raven-Symone were “mean girls” because they were “turning up their noses looking u [Leakes] up and down as if you don’t belong.” She later deleted the Tweet.
In 2013, Leakes founded NeNe Leakes Entertainment, a television production company. The company produced Leakes’ spin-off series I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding alongside True Entertainment, where Leakes was also credited as an executive producer. The spin-off series I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding, which documented the preparations for their second wedding, premiered on September 17, 2013.
In February 2014, Leakes announced that she would be launching a clothing line later in the year. On July 28, 2014, Leakes launched the Nene Leakes Collection for the Home Shopping Network (HSN). The collection sold out in days. “We took meetings with a lot of different people. And HSN actually felt right,” Leakes said. “When they walked into the room we totally clicked. And you need to really work with people who really understand and get you.”
In March 2016, Leakes announced that she would be touring the United States in a one-woman comedy tour called “So Nasty, So Rude,” named after one of her catchphrases. The tour started in April and was to continue until the end of the year. Many shows sold out.
She and husband Gregg Leakes separated in 2010, and he filed for divorce on April 29, 2010. The divorce was finalized September 29, 2011, after season four of The Real Housewives had finished shooting. NeNe and Gregg Leakes reunited and announced that they were engaged in January 2013. Bravo filmed their wedding planning and ceremony for a spin-off entitled I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding. NeNe and Gregg remarried on June 22, 2013, at the InterContinental Buckhead Hotel in Atlanta.
Leakes has two sons, Bryson and Brentt. She has a granddaughter, Bri’Asia Bryant (born June 2012).
|2003||The Fighting Temptations||Stripper||Deleted scene|
|2004||The Parkers||Minor role||1 episode|
|2008–present||The Real Housewives of Atlanta||Herself||Main cast (season 1–7, 10–present); Guest (season 8)|
|2011||The Celebrity Apprentice 4||Herself||Season 11; 10 episodes|
|2012–15||Glee||Roz Washington||Recurring role; 13 episodes|
|2012||The Amandas||Herself||1 episode|
|2012||The Game||Herself||1 episode|
|2012||Let’s Stay Together||Herself||1 episode|
|2012–13||The New Normal||Rocky Rhoades||Series regular|
|2013||Betty White’s Off Their Rockers||Herself||1 episode|
|2013||The Price Is Right||Herself||1 episode|
|2013||Miss USA||Herself||Main judge, 1 episode|
|2013||I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding||Herself||Main cast/executive producer; 7 episodes|
|2013–17||Fashion Police||Co-host||Guest co-host (2013–15); co-host (2016–17)|
|2014||The Millionaire Matchmaker||Herself||1 episode|
|2014||Dancing with the Stars||Herself||Season 18; 8 episodes (including the finale)|
|2015||The Prancing Elites Project||Herself||1 episode|
|2015||Real Husbands of Hollywood||Herself||1 episode|
|2015-16||New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly||Co-host||Special broadcast from Times Square|
|2016||To Tell the Truth||Panelist||Series regular|
|2016||Larry King Now||Herself||1 episode|
|2016||Cupcake Wars||Competitor||1 episode|
|2016||Celebrity Family Feud||Competitor||1 episode|
|2016||Lip Sync Battle||Competitor||1 episode|
|2016||Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry||Herself||1 episode|
|2017||MasterChef Celebrity Showdown||Competitor||1 episode|
|2015||“If I Don’t Have You“||Tamar Braxton||Madam NeNe|
|2015||Kim Kardashian: Hollywood||NeNe Leakes|
|2011||Loving Him Is Killing Me||Pinky Bell||Stage play (toured major U.S. cities)|
|2014||Zumanity||Mistress of Sensuality||Las Vegas resident show|
|2014–15||Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella||Madame||The Broadway Theatre|
|2015||Chicago||Matron “Mama” Morton||The Ambassador Theatre|