The Real Housewives OGs chopped it up on the latest installment of Frankel’s podcast, Just B with Bethenny Frankel. They discussed their complicated relationship with the 55-year-old franchise founder.
The reality stars have an extended history with Andy since both NeNe and Bethenny joined the Real Housewives franchise in 2008. At the time, Andy worked as a Bravo executive producer and up-and-coming on-air personality.
The two say they may have appeared to be “Andy’s Favorite” on camera, but they weren’t actually close friends.
“I don’t feel like we were good friends,” Nene told People. “My good friends, I go to their house or I visit their home at some point, so I never visited his home. … [We were] probably a little more than [colleagues] because I could call him on his cell,” she explained.
“I have gone out with him, out on the town, and I’ve gone drinking with him and I’ve partied with him. … [But] I did not know where it stood. I thought we had a good relationship.”
The blonde said her friendship with Cohen was “a real game” that Housewife had to lace up for.
“He’s at the top and he is moving everybody around on the board,” Frankel co-signed. “There’s always questions, ‘Who texts you the most? Who do you text the most?’ And the thing is, we’re all in the game.”
“I remember one year, I was off the Housewives and I went to his house for his Christmas party and there were all these famous people there and I felt special. And then, you know, I’m sitting next to him at this reunion and now I feel special. And it reminds me of you with your parents … we all want his approval, we all want to be the favorite. We want to be able to say, ‘I’ve been on that show the most.’ It’s like a calling card.”
“There’s a psychology that goes on with this group and this show,” Bethenny added. “He used to be an executive and he’s a producer so there’s this power play. … It’s tricky.”
Check out what NeNe Leakes & Bethenny Frankel said about “playing the game” with Andy Cohen although they “don’t really like each other” after the jump.
Bethenny Frankel And NeNe Leakes Spill The Tea About “Playing The Game” For Reality TV: “We’re Using Him Like He’s Using Us”
Bethenny caused a stir in July by campaigning for a “reality reckoning” to protect talent on unscripted TV productions. The SkinnyGirl founder is bringing attention to the mistreatment of reality stars by the networks that employ them and unionizing casts to fight for fair working conditions and residual-like compensation.
Deadline secured an internal memo stating NBC/Universal would launch stricter rules around alcohol consumption on set and provide mental health resources for employees, in addition to anti-discrimination, harassment policies and violation reporting and procedures.
Bethenny says she realized she partly kept quiet about her dissatisfaction with Bravo to protect Cohen. However, the entrepreneur claims their friendly convos were strictly business.
“I thought this whole time that Andy and I were kind of really friends ’cause we text back and forth, but we don’t really — I’ve been to his house once for a Christmas party 10 years ago,” she shared. “Every time we’re together, we’re only talking about the Housewives. Am I coming on, am I going off? Is that person getting fired, is that person coming on? We’re not really — you know what your real friends are like.”
Bethenny inferred the host may be jealous and no longer “likes” her. She clocked tension after Andy failed to congratulate the former Apprentice star on major career accomplishments.
“So now I’m in this hybrid world where I think, ‘We kind of really don’t like each other, but we’re both playing this game.’ And yet, when things are happening for me, he’s not really congratulating me. And I feel like he has this sort of resentment because I’m supposed to be beneath him, because we sort of came up at the same time. … So I’m thinking, ‘I don’t think he likes me at all.”
The New Yorker said, “‘I think we were both playing this game for some time. ‘And one day I just decided not to be afraid and open my f*cking mouth because the only person I was protecting in that whole realm was him, and he hasn’t been protecting me.”
“Hello!” Leakes agreed. “I kind of feel the same you do. I don’t think he ever liked me.”
The Housewife alums admitted they significantly benefit from their relationship with the Bravo exec.
Frankel claimed that Cohen is “always protected from [these kinds of questions], and we’re always f—ing skinned alive with Tabasco sauce all over us, naked. … We’re out there and we get thrown like pieces of meat to just get ripped apart by that vehicle that we kiss the a** to get on. … And we all play the god d*mn f*cking game, because we’re using him like he’s using us, because we want to promote our sh*t. But it all just seems so gross.”
NeNe’s public beef with Andy began upon suing the Bravo show producer after her 2020 departure from Real Housewives of Atlanta.
See how NeNe Leakes feels about Andy Cohen and their post-lawsuit relationship after the jump!
NeNe Leakes Talks Suing Andy Cohen And Where They Stand Now: “I Can’t Carry That Grudge… In My Heart Forever”
The Linnethia Lounge owner filed a lawsuit in April 2022 against Cohen, Bravo, its execs, NBC Universal and the RHOA’s production company.
The filing accused them of fostering “a corporate and workplace culture in which racially insensitive and inappropriate behavior is tolerated — if not encouraged.” NeNe apparently had a change of heart and dismissed this action without prejudice in August of the same year.
NeNe isn’t hopeful about rekindling a relationship with Andy.
“I did call him. He has not taken my phone call,” said the boy mom. “I’ve tried to find a way for he and I to sit down and talk, but he’s never wanted to do that,” she revealed.
“This is just to clear the air, not for anything else — not to be a Housewife, not for anything. Just to understand him and for him to understand me, pretty much.”
You’re likely on the block list, chile.
NeNe wants Andy to move forward from the past stating, “I actually feel sad for a person who doesn’t have a forgiving heart. I can be mad at you, but I’m not going to be forever mad at you. I can’t carry that grudge and that hatred in my heart forever,” Leakes expressed.
“He’s he’s never wanted to [move on]. And it’s OK. I’m not pushing it. Everybody moves when they’re ready in their time. He’s not ready and that’s okay.”
So, basically, they were never friends with Andy — the two were “work friends” at best.
And they will likely never be friends, but who knows what can happen?
Reality (TV) can be stranger than fiction.
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