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Dr. Heavenly Kimes might be a relationship expert, but there's one friendship she can’t seem to fix: the one she used to have with Dr. Simone Whitmore. The Married to Medicine stars appeared to patch things up at the season 7 reunion (shot in November 2019), but when cameras went up for season 8 in July 2020, the friendship remained fractured.
"I called her several times," Dr. Heavenly recalls over video chat with ET. "I called her several times and she wasn't responsive. I invited her out, she didn’t respond. I didn't do s**t to nobody. All I do is respond to people attacking me."
"I have to be honest, we're still not speaking!" she confesses. "We had positive movement during the filming, but to this day we’re really not where we were."
The ladies' issue seems to stem from Simone's husband, Dr. Cecil Whitmore’s, habit of commenting about the show (of which he is also a part) on social media. One tweet Heavenly wrote about liking how her husband, Dr. Damon Kimes, has a job and is too busy to make comments about the show on social media seems to be at the crux of the issue, a tweet for which Heavenly has apologized. Or at least, she thought she did.
"I don't want to be messy, but s**t, I can only speak the truth," she says. "Simone and her husband and I had an interaction on Twitter after telling him multiple times to stop. I responded one time -- once -- and she can't get over that."
"I just think Simone needs to own her s**t and move forward," Heavenly adds. "Ain't nobody holding no grudges. We all get into it. Nobody hasn’t done wrong in this group. If we held grudges we would never get anywhere."
Complicating matters is Dr. Jackie Walters, who wouldn't blindly take her friend of over 20 years' side in her battle with Heavenly.
"I think the issue is that Jackie kind of agreed with me, because there was things [Cecil] said that she didn't like," Heavenly surmises. "So she said, 'Hey, I'm going to stay out of it,' and Simone just stopped speaking to both of us rather than going to her husband and holding him accountable for the s**t he did."
Heavenly is quick to point out some hypocrisy she sees, noting how Jackie didn't expect Simone to take sides when she faced her own problem with Buffie Purselle last season.
"She's mad at Jackie for not defending her against a friend," Heavenly says. "You can say '20 years,' but you can't say a better friend than I’ve been to her."
Heavenly says Simone is simply "looking for an excuse" instead of having a tough conversation with her husband about the root of the issue, his comments.
"He needs to own it," Heavenly declares. "I didn't do anything wrong. I think that I came, and he gave his opinion to me and my husband, and you give your opinion to me all the time. When you bring my man into it, I'm gonna respond, because you allow me to give my opinion of you and I did. So, Simone needs to own it. She knows what it is. Jackie has nothing to with it and she knows it."
In this mix is Toya Bush-Harris, who takes it upon herself to play mediator in the season premiere. Spoiler alert: it does not go well.
"I think that Toya -- I'm gonna just tell you this the nicest way I can -- need something to do," Heavenly deadpans. "Something else to do. I mean, her kids are at school, so we can't say she's a stay-at-home mom. She need something to do, something to make her life feel more fulfilled. That's my thought on Toya, really, because she's really critical on people that are doing way more than she is, so she needs to do something so she even has an inkling of what it takes to run a business, run a family, run her life, run her household. Do your s**t first and then come out."
Heavenly can at the least thank Toya for bringing Anila Sajja into the mix. The wife of plastic surgeon Dr. Kiran Sajja is season 8’s new full-time cast member, whom Heavenly calls "a great addition to the cast."
"I can honestly say she's a friend," Heavenly gushes, even though Anila is seen taking a dig at Heavenly in the trailer, saying "anyone can be a dentist."
"I'm happy with my position as a dentist, it does not bother me," Heavenly fires back. "When you make a dig at [anyone else on this cast], they hurt forever -- and I don't do anything more deep than my opinion -- but then they do."
"I would not get up out my bed to deliver somebody else's baby," she quips, taking a slight dig at the MDs on her show. "I just couldn’t do it, and I taught my husband, as well. He does not work in the ER anymore. He works three days a week, he sets his own hours, and it's pain management and personal injury. I think we have a great lifestyle. I can't be mad at that. If they chose what they do, I'm all for it -- and I think they're needed -- but don't doubt me for what I do. I'm great at it and I love it."
"And I'm a blogger, too," she adds, getting in one last jab at lifestyle blogger Anila, "and that ain't a real job to me."
Anila steps into a Mariah Huq-shaped hole on the cast. The M2M OG exited the show after season 7.
"I just feel like, whose friend was Mariah? Who was her friend on the show?" Heavenly says of the shake-up. "Who could she film with? I think this show is based on a group of friends and nobody really f**ks with Mariah. Nobody don't, and I just think that her… I don’t know, but the cast shakeup, I think it was a good move."
Season 8 does see the return of two familiar faces, though: original cast member Kari Wells and Lisa Nicole Cloud, whom Heavenly faces off with in the trailer.
"I think Lisa Nicole is hungry and she's thirsty," Heavenly admits. "She came at me attacking me from the very beginning and I haven’t seen this b**ch in years, honestly. I don't know what her problem is with me. But, you know what? A part of me feels sorry for Lisa Nicole, 'cause every time she comes back she gets the bad end of the stick. She comes for me and I stay ready."
"Kari takes digs at me, as well, but I like Kari for some reason," Heavenly continues. "I like her. She’s funny, she’s fun -- I don't know if she will say the same thing about me -- but what really touched my heart with Kari was during the Black Lives Matter movement. She went over and beyond, and I don’t care what nobody says: A white woman is needed in our movement. It helps our movement. We need everybody, and what I saw was everybody of all nationalities, all races -- everybody -- from all genders was there saying, hey, you know what? Black lives do matter and this is something that’s wrong, and Kari was on the frontline so I will always respect her for that."
Season 8 meets the women at the height of the coronavirus pandemic and at the surge of the BLM movement, in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and more Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement officers. The season will follow the cast as they take part in marches and conversations to move the movement forward, sharing personal stories about their own experiences with police brutality and racism.
"Being a Black female, having a Black brother and Black man in my life all around, I honestly thought that everybody knew the struggles that we went through," Heavenly shares. "I really, really did. But coming and meeting Anila, and some other people not of color, they just did not know. I don't know if they just were not exposed to it or whatever, but in my mind I would’ve thought everybody would've. So I think what we’re getting out of it is exposure."
"Any time that something’s going wrong in this country -- or any other country -- all you can do is put it out there for the world to see," she adds, "and then the people that’s doing it have to respond to it and I think one of the things about this country is it takes pride in their 'brand,' the way they look to other people, and they’re out there being policeman of the world taking care of apartheid and other things in other countries and they ain’t even solved they own s**t here, so now we need to take a look at ourselves before we can move forward in another country or be involved in anything else."
The season also tackles the COVID-19 crisis, with a focus on how much more devastating the pandemic was on Black people. The show offers a unique point of view, with doctors of color sharing their firsthand experience of battling the virus on the frontlines.
"We get to show you what we actually went through, the protocols with the pandemic ... and I don't think a lot of people see the intricate involvement of how it affects doctors' lives and their livelihood," Heavenly says. "A lot of people were affected in different ways and it was amazing to see how the different dynamics of Married to Medicine were shown."
Heavenly and her husband stepped into action, helping to organize testing sites for the Atlanta community.
"Dr. Damon, I think you got to see what he does COVID testing, how he jumped out in the front and did something -- not just sat down and waited for things to happen," she notes.
Heavenly and Damon's marriage is always a hot topic on the series, seeing as Heavenly routinely proclaims that she and "Daddy," as she calls Damon, have a "perfect marriage." She says her co-stars need to take a moment to listen when she talks to understand why she’s constantly projecting that.
"There is no perfect marriage," she states, "but you also know that I am very spiritual, so you speak things that are not as though they are. You wanna put things in the universe the way you want to be. Damon and I’ve had some downs, just like everybody else. Now, I’ve never caught him cheating like some of the other wives, I’ve never had my husband leave me to befriend another woman, none of that. So, in my mind -- and I know I be messy, but s**t, I tell you the truth -- in my mind, it looks perfect compared to they s**t, that’s what I like. But ain’t no marriage perfect."
Get more words of wisdom from Dr. Heavenly on Married to Medicine, airing Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo starting March 7 after The Real Housewives of Atlanta.