Kandi Burruss Addresses NeNe Leakes' Jabs and Shares Her 'Real Housewives of Atlanta' Dream Cast (Exclusive)

The 'Real Housewives of Atlanta' star spoke exclusively with ET ahead of her new 'Photobook Magazine' cover.

Kandi Burruss isn't letting any former co-stars dull her shine -- especially NeNe Leakes.

ET chatted with PhotoBook Magazine's latest cover star ahead of the publication's Aug. 9 release, and the Real Housewives of Atlanta star addressed some recent comments that the reality TV alum made about her star quality. 

During an appearance on Carlos King's Reality With The King podcast, Leakes sounded off about whether she believes Burruss is truly a "star" of the long-running reality series. Although Leakes admitted she hasn't seen season 15 of the Bravo series -- she says she's watched clips that are posted online but isn't a big TV watcher in general -- she didn't hesitate to share her thoughts on the show's current lineup and agreed when King suggested that the cast needs a "massive shakeup." 

Season 15's cast includes Burruss, Drew SidoraMarlo HamptonKenya MooreShereé Whitfield and Sanya Richards-Ross, none of whom Leakes believes is a "star." The alum claimed she felt that Hampton was the sole entertaining factor of the cast, saying that is proof they need to change something.

When it comes to Burruss, Leakes gave the disclaimer that although the two have settled their beef, she "always wants to speak very freely and very honestly."

"I think that Kandi is not exciting. I just don't think the camera loves her," Leakes answered when asked by King if she thought Burruss was "overrated and overpaid." "I think the camera loves her family, but I don't think they love her. I don't think the viewers or anyone else will ever see her -- as much as they want to make Kandi the star, and [boasts that] she's been there for 100 years, and she is her -- I don't think not one person tunes in[to the show] and believes that."

Leakes later added, "I've never seen Kandi as a star. I've seen Kandi as a supporting star but not as the star."

Speaking with ET's Brice Sander, Burruss confesses that she didn't watch the interview herself but heard about it from "everybody else." When asked what her reaction was to hearing Leakes say the camera doesn't love her, Burruss jokes, "You broke up, hello."

"For anybody that feels the way about me, I really do not care," the 47-year-old star continues. "I am the longest-running Housewife of any franchise. So, you may not think that I'm good television, but somebody does, you know what I mean? And then, on top of that, it's just crazy to me... I've been winning before she even thought about being a part of TV."

Burruss -- who coined the iconic phrase "I'm worldwide" after an argument with Hampton in a similar vein -- is a noted, award-winning producer, singer, songwriter, actress and entrepreneur. Noting her many accomplishments, she included having a hit record in 12th grade, being the first woman ever to win the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers' (ASCAP) Songwriter of the Year in 2000 and being the first woman to win The Masked Singer.

"And then, on top of all of that, I am very cool and happy at letting the people around me shine," she says. "So some people feel like they're bigger than the group, right? They bigger than everybody, and they do not understand that it takes an ensemble to make the cast work or to make an interesting story. So yeah, she may be hot when she's with us, but how hot is she when she's not with us? And that's what I would have to say. I think NeNe is amazing. But it's like... what are you doing other than talking about us?"

When it comes to Leakes' thoughts on the cast needing a shakeup, Burruss shares that she doesn't believe a total revamp of the lineup would work with RHOA as it has for other series in the franchise, such as The Real Housewives of New York City.

"I feel like certain people on this cast, people expect to see them, you know what I mean? But I feel that you can add some new people -- but it's all about who you add," she muses. "Because they've tried to add people here and there; and some people, you guys [have] never even gotten to see 'cause they wasn't giving what I guess production, or the network, felt like they needed to give. So it's like, it's gonna be tough. It's hard to be in this circle, I can say that."

And although Burruss refuses to suggest dropping anyone in the current cast, saying she'll leave it to the powers that be to decide, she does share some suggestions on former castmates who would be great to bring back for season 16.

"I definitely would add back Porsha [Williams]. I would if there was any world where NeNe could be added back, I would add her back just simply because she has so much to say about us," she tells ET. "You know, I miss my girl Cynthia Bailey, but we're still friends. We still hang out all the time. And I'll always love a good Eva [Marcille]. Eva is good good TV, she's fun, you know what I mean?"

As the longest-running Housewife in the franchise, Burruss says that while she's contemplated her exit from the reality series a few times, she isn't planning it just yet. The mom of three is frequently juggling a full plate on the show, from keeping her relationship with husband Todd Tucker going strong to managing her various business ventures like Kandi Koated Nights, her acting gigs, and being a present mother to her children, Riley, Blaze and Ace, and Tucker's daughter, Kayla.

"Obviously, the conversation comes up quite often. But, whenever the time comes it'll just happen," she says. "I haven't planned my exit just yet. I feel like sometimes, you know, that moment will just hit you... So right now, I'm just maintaining all my situations that I got going on so, either way, [when] it's the time, then I'm good. But what I do appreciate about being on the show is that it keeps us connected to our fans in a way. You just don't have that same connection when they're like, really following your lives. I do appreciate that part of it."

As for not being loved by the camera, Burruss really proves Leakes wrong in the shoot for her PhotoBook cover. The star is posed next to a naked man painted in gold as she sports a fierce gold dress.

Mike Ruiz/Photobook

"We did something very cool and different in this shoot, and I'm super excited about it. I can't wait for everybody to see it," she tells ET. 

Burruss shares that when coming up with the concept, she kept her husband in mind, especially when deciding how spicy to make the poses. "We thought it was nice to have a man that was painted in gold like a trophy, and that the whole thing was gold," she adds. "And just really, really dope styling. The hair had to be really big and over-the-top and wild, which, as you know, I like experimenting with hair looks. So I thought that was gonna be fun."

The end result is one that everyone is happy with, including Tucker. Burruss jokes that as soon as her husband heard her photoshoot partner was going to be naked, he made sure he was present.

Mike Ruiz/Photobook
Mike Ruiz/Photobook

"It turned out great! It was funny shooting the photos. This was like a month ago, and Todd was like, 'Oh, I'm gonna stop by the shoot,' and he had Blaze with him. I was like, 'Yeah, no, I don't think that's a good idea,' because I just had a leaf that I was holding over the private area for the male model," Burruss recalls. "But I love the way the pictures turned out. When I saw them, I couldn't believe it! I was like, 'OK, this is really, really cute.' Like, yeah, that's me."

Burruss' PhotoBook Magazine issue is available now.