The 'Real Housewives of Atlanta' star opens up to ET about the explosive reunion and where the group goes after the drama of season 13.
One of Kandi Burruss' mantras is, "speak on it." She even has a digital talk show with that name, but there is one topic she’s done speaking on: whether Bolo, a stripper she hired as entertainment for Cynthia Bailey’s bachelorette party, got intimate with any of her The Real Housewives of Atlanta co-stars at said bachelorette party. Kenya Moore is adamant that Porsha Williams did the deed with Bolo, while Porsha has maintained nothing happened between the two.
"At the end of the day, regardless of whatever, Porsha is a single woman, you know what I mean?" Kandi muses to ET over video chat. "She doesn't have to say anything, because it's her choice if she wants to talk about her own personal business."
"She doesn't really have to give anybody an answer, really," she notes. "So you guys can try to hold her to the fire if you want to, but at the end of the day, she doesn't really have to answer anybody."
Kenya is the one most interested in an answer from Porsha, unwilling to let up until Porsha cops to what Kenya thinks she heard Porsha doing on the bachelorette trip. While Kenya proclaimed she was dropping the issue on the most recent episode of RHOA, Kandi says that didn’t last, thanks in part to the reunion, where they all had to speak on it.
"I always promote everybody to live your best life," Kandi says of her choice to stay out of the conversation as much as possible. "Have a good time and I don't want anybody to be crucified for living their best life. So I was just kind of feeling like I was in a weird position on this, and so I just was hoping that she would let it go, but on the other side of that coin, when I listened to the viewers and how much they had fun talking about it, I was like, OK! Well, if she didn't talk about it, they wouldn't have been able to talk about this. They wouldn't have had anything to watch."
The most Kandi has said on the topic was with Marlo Hampton, who found herself in the middle of Kenya and Porsha’s back and forth over the Bolo of it all. After Marlo reached her breaking point at an all-cast dinner during the group's trip to New Orleans, she asked Kandi point blank, "Do you feel Porsha is a liar?" Kandi didn’t answer the question directly, instead offering, "Put it this way: in our past history, in dealing with each other, yes, I’ve seen her tell lies before."
"Porsha and I have definitely had a rollercoaster relationship," Kandi says. "We are in a better place now, but it's not like you can't really say anything to me because of our history. We've definitely had our moments."
Staying out of the Bolo situation has likely helped things stay on track for the pair, though Bolo remains an ever-present figure in Kandi's life. The GRAMMY winner is currently toying with the idea of adding bachelorette party planning services to her long list of businesses, and will launch a virtual "Welcome to the Dungeon" experience with Bolo in the coming weeks.
"We do speak about it," she says of the drama. "We don't go too far into detail. I don't ask him any of his personal business, about what he did or did not do or anything like that. But I think at first he was a little nervous about what this could mean for his life, and he was a little afraid, to be honest, about how it affects him. He has his own personal relationship. He has a family and so to be put on this platform can be a little scary. But the other thing about it is he has a career outside of being a male entertainer. He's an actor. He's going to be in the new series that [Eva Marcille] is the lead in [on BET+]."
"I'm super excited for him," she continues. "I was just telling him this the other day, like, even though I'm sure a lot of people were talking about Bolo, Bolo, Bolo, but they just only introduced him for a lot of great things that he has coming up in the future. So I just told him, ‘Just keep your head up. You have so much more to offer the world and just accept that people are excited to know more about you. Just look at it that way.’"
Bolo's name is sure to come up a lot during the reunion episodes, which the cast just filmed. When asked if Kenya and Porsha were able to put an end to the Bolo back and forth, Kandi offers up a, "I don’t know about a resolution."
"I hate that they have gotten back on the wrong foot, but I personally have seen crazier situations subside and get back to a better place," she muses. "So I wouldn't say that they couldn't ever fix it. It could be fixed. If Kenya and Marlo can fix it, Kenya and Porsha, you can fix it. I just feel like there are other things that we would like to see, for sure. I definitely feel like we would like to see them say, OK, let's bury the hatchet."
Porsha and Kenya weren’t the only two with reunion beef. Kandi says things got especially heated between season 13 newbies Drew Sidora and LaToya Ali, too.
"I felt like LaToya came out on fire, and I felt like she had a reason to be," Kandi teases. "I mean, she talked about it on social media, so I guess it's OK for me to say this -- I don't want to give away anything -- but apparently, before she came out on stage … I guess Drew's husband's barber came into LaToya's dressing room and gave her, like, a vitamin C pill and someone was like, ‘Drew told me to give you this because she said you were on social media saying you didn't feel good…’ or something. And so she just got so angry."
"She's like, how dare you have somebody to come into my dressing room," she continues. "So, I would have been mad, too. You know, they have not been in a good place with each other at all this entire season. And so she just felt like, it was really not cool. I guess she said the person had a camera phone on her or something coming in her dressing room. It was a lot. Yeah."
The vitamin C peace/no peace offering comes on the heels of some unexpected drama between Drew and LaToya that closes out the season. Viewers will see Drew get angry with LaToya over allegedly hooking up with a prophet from Drew’s church, whom Drew introduced to LaToya.
"I still don't understand that whole situation," Kandi admits. "I felt like Drew got a little too invested in that, in my opinion. I mean, OK, I get it. She kept calling Latoya, ‘Delilah.’ I was like, what?! It just gets weird to me when somebody starts being real judgy about another person and starts using religion to shun someone. And it's just like, OK, this is too much, you know what I mean?"
"It was going in a place that I felt like it shouldn't," she adds. "I got that they didn't get along, but that whole telling her she was praying on your profit situation was too much. He's a grown man. He's single. He makes his own decisions. You cannot blame LaToya for anything that that man decides to do. Like, stop it."
Expect an in-depth discussion on that at the reunion, but don’t hold your breath about a Tanya Sam appearance. The "friend of" the cast dipped out of filming season 13 after the bachelorette trip, where her name was floated as also being involved in the bedroom fun with Bolo, a claim she denied. Kandi says, as far as she knows, the cast hasn’t really spoken with Tanya since she parted ways with the show.
"I think it was a lot for her," she surmises. "Overall we have to remember that people have lives outside of the show. If nothing else that you know about Tanya, the thing that's most important for her is her relationship with [her fiancé Paul Judge], and anything that's going to jeopardize that she doesn't want any part of it. So I think that probably just really stressed her out and she just wanted to step back for a minute and just focus on making sure things was right in her home life and we were just too much for her."
"I mean, her and Paul are doing very well for themselves," she notes. "I mean, she was doing well for herself before she came on the show. It's not like her life depended on Real Housewives of Atlanta."
As for the ladies who did show up to the reunion, their fits were the talk of social media as soon as Bravo released photos from the taping -- especially Kandi, whose name trended on Twitter after viewers got a good look at her unexpected ensemble.
"First of all, I'm going to say this: I did not like that picture that Bravo put out at first, that picture was horrible," Kandi cracks. "I had to put up the little video on my page because it didn't give the look the justice that it needed, honey. You know what I'm saying? Now, overall, what was told to us was the theme of this reunion is they said, Fifty Shades of Grey, Burlesque, Dungeon. That's what we were told. Now I brought the theme. That's what I did. Now the other girls? They look beautiful, but they just wore beautiful gowns. I brought the theme."
Kandi topped off her latex look with old-school style glam, inspired by burlesque star Dita Von Teese and pin-up icon Bettie Page.
As for where the group goes after reunion, Kandi’s not sure. She hopes everyone from season 13 comes back to resolve unfinished business -- and to film a season together outside of COVID protocols. She does not think a cast shakeup is necessary.
"The way I look at it is, we just shook things up and I feel like people were just starting to get to know some of the new people in this past season," she shares. "So if anything, I feel like we've only had five Housewives this past year. I feel like anything, add somebody. I don't feel like we need to switch it up again because we just switched it up. We just added new people and I feel like there's more to get to know about the new people, and I feel like we could probably possibly add one more, just to have a bigger group."
"People gave us a hard time, but people don't realize how hard it was to film during COVID," she goes on to say. "When we first started filming the season, if you notice, we didn't have a lot of big events like we normally do. Normally we have a lot of events where we invite a lot of friends, do a lot of stuff like that. We weren't allowed to do any, any of that this year … and it took a long time before the season actually got jumped off because we didn't really know who was going to be a part of the new season. So I'm like, yeah, guys, this was a different type of year, so don't be so judgmental."
One bright spot for Kandi was being able to open her latest restaurant, Blaze Steak & Seafood.
"Before they announced the pandemic is when we had signed our new lease for our restaurant," she recalls. "So could you imagine? We're being all excited, ‘Oh, we're going to introduce a new restaurant, blah, blah, blah,’ sign the paperwork and boom. Oh, the world is about to shut down. That was a seriously panicking thing for us, but to be able to still pull through and still make things happen, we were very happy that it still came together and everybody's fine and everything was good."
It’s the latest business partnership for Kandi and her husband, Todd Tucker, who just celebrated seven years of marriage.
"A lot of people didn't think we were going to make it, but I think it's, we have something that a lot of people don't have," Kandi says of her relationship. "We make amazing partners. … We motivate each other and we push each other to do everything that we ever dreamed of doing. We're like, yeah, let's do it. You know how sometimes you can get with a person that's like, I don't know, you shouldn't do that? Not in this group. Really. The two of us were like, we can do it. Let's go."
Those dreams include pursuing more entertainment endeavors. A show about Kandi and Todd’s restaurants is soon to go into production, while Kandi and her group, Xscape, are gearing up for a Mother’s Day Verzuz battle with SWV. Kandi’s also excited about her latest movie, Envy, which premieres later this month on Lifetime.
"First of all, I'm super excited to be a part of a Lifetime movie," Kandi gushes. "Growing up, I always watched Lifetime movies. You know how you just sit there all day? Well, this is definitely one that's going to make you want to be glued to the TV. Can I tell you I have a stunt double in this movie?"
"I never had used a stunt double before," she says. "But this one, I was sitting there when it happened and I was like ooh, ooh, ooh! Glad I had a stunt double. … You know what? I just thought about it. Sometimes I feel like I need a stunt double on RHOA. No, but seriously, it gives you a little bit of everything. This movie is one of those things where it's enough drama, enough heart. It makes you feel something for the characters, where you feel sorry for, but then at the same time you don't like her. Same like RHOA."