Phaedra Parks says she’s ready to conquer the world. After a tough seventh season on The Real Housewives of Atlanta, which documented her husband Apollo Nida’s last days of freedom before starting an eight-year-prison sentence, Phaedra is stronger and ready to take on anything.
“I’m transitioning,” Phaedra tells ETonline. “You know, getting myself together to conquer the world as a single mom ... I’m just in a place where I can enjoy the relationships, and you know, [the women are] not as mean to me this year as they were to me last year, when I was going through hell.”
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Phaedra says that all the women have rallied behind her this season, especially Porsha Williams, who is back as a full-time housewife.
“We understand, you know, what it’s like to go through very rough times in front of people,” Phaedra says of her bond with Porsha. “She’s really helped me walk through it gracefully, and she’s given me great advice … as you know, I have needed a good friend during these times.”
Porsha echoed the same sentiment in an earlier conversation with ETonline. “She is definitely back to being Phaedra … the relationship just blossomed through plain old women supporting women,” she said.
Following what Phaedra calls “the most difficult time that I’ve ever had in my life,” the single mom says season eight has been a “cakewalk” for her, even though the show will still dive into some heavy topics.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that, you know, I will definitely not be continuing in the marriage [with Apollo],” Phaedra reveals. “That will unfold by the end of the season.”
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“You know, we’re still co-parenting,” Phaedra says of her relationship with Apollo, “as much as you can co-parent in prison … we speak -- at least -- if not four, five times a week, you know more … there’s no issues between us as parents, and so you know, we just did not make it as a family unit.”
Even with the tough situation, Phaedra and Apollo’s sons, 5-year-old Ayden and 2-year-old Dylan, seem to be thriving.
“Oh my gosh, well Ayden started kindergarten a few months ago,” Phaedra gushes. “That’s been a big transition, because, of course, you saw me pregnant with him when I first came on the show … To see him now, 5 years old, going to school … It’s all really amazing.”
“His brother is talking and quite different,” Phaedra adds with a laugh. “Because his brother is like a big sack of potatoes and he’s, like, you know, a little professor, so… they are very funny together. They’re crazy about each other.”
And Phaedra is crazy about the return of original cast member Sheree Whitfield, who is back on the show this year as a “friend” of the Housewives.
“Sheree is going to introduce some things that you have never thought would be seen on national TV,” Phaedra teases. “It is going to be quite interesting. I mean, my jaw dropped when I saw it.”
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Phaedra says fans will also get to see her and Sheree take a trip to Washington, D.C. in support of Phaedra’s non-profit, Saving Our Sons.
“I took her with me -- and you’ll see this on the show -- to the Million Man March,” Phaedra says. “That’s gonna be some very powerful episodes, talking about the plight … politically, of black boys.”
“You know, when you have the opportunity to reach so many people, you have to speak about the issues that are really affecting people,” Phaedra says of using the show as a platform for the causes she supports. “The trip to D.C. is going to, I think, personally, stand out, because … I’m able to introduce them to … some aspects of activism in the community.”
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Phaedra also promises this season will be “traumatic, as usual,” with lots of “good” drama -- saying a “big secret” will be revealed about her fallout with Kandi Burruss within the first few episodes. Viewers will also get to see Phaedra dive into the dating waters again -- literally!
“Ooh, honey!” Phaedra says, excitedly. “It is some boyfriends that are gonna be revealed! In a jacuzzi … And I will say no more -- you’ll have to tune in.’
The Real Housewives of Atlanta returns Sunday, Nov. 8, at 8 p.m. ET on Bravo. Hear what Porsha had to say about the season ahead in the video below.