Nene Speaks

America’s favorite Real Housewife tells all about sparring with Jane Lynch on Glee, her new gay-themed sitcom The New Normal, and her thoughts on marriage equality.



You’re an advocate against domestic abuse. With the bullying epidemic in the headlines, what advice have you given your children about how to react if they see other people being bullied?

Bullying is insane to me. I tell people that I’m so strong now because I was bullied in high school. I remember in our school there were two girls that everyone was scared of and I was scared of them, too. They’d make the other girls fight each other. I’d say if you’re being bullied in school you need to talk to your counselor and your parents. Well, the school counselor, I’m really not sure that’s working. So many parents say to go to the counselor but the school says that something has to happen before they can really do something. I’d say talk to your parents about it. My son is 13 and is about to go into the 8th grade. If he was bullied I’d probably pull him out of school. I don’t know what you can do about another kid who is beating on your kid. I realize that every parent can’t afford to just snatch their child out of school.

Have you witnessed bullying yourself?

I have a good girlfriend who’s an adult and she feels she’s being bullied right now. She’s not a fighter. I feel so bad for her. She actually cries about being bullied. It’s a tough thing. I was in an abusive relationship for a long time and I didn’t know how to get out of it. I turned to a lot of people for help. They couldn’t help me because they hadn’t been in an abusive relationship before. One of the things I want to do to help women is form a home or a counseling center so they can just get away and go there. My abuser started abusing me when I was so young and I kept going back and I thought it was love. It’s a very tough thing to get out of. As for bullying, there’s no way I can let me child be abused after what I went through.

As one of the most famous housewives in America, what’s your opinion of Obama coming out in support of same-sex marriage?

I loved it. I think he got a lot of heat from it. I’ve been asked to photographed for the NOH8 campaign but I haven’t been able to work my schedule around it yet. To me, same-sex marriage is like the new normal. I don’t give a shit. If two gay people want to get married it doesn’t bother me. If two people say they love each other and they want to be together, they should be together. Don’t you think?

You have two sons. What will you say to them if one told you he's gay?

I’ve had this conversation with my boys before. I’ve asked, “Are you gay?” I thought about how I’d react. First I’d faint then I’d have to just get up and go with it. [Laughs] Any parent hearing that for the first time, it will be a little bit of a shocker for them. No matter who the parents are, that’s something you have to take in. If one of my sons told me he’s gay I’d have to sleep on it and let it sink in. I have so many gay friends that I’d have to go to one of them to ask them for advice. I’d ask what I can do to be more supportive. As many gay friends as I have I’d definitely have to seek advice because I’ve never experienced it. I’d get on my phone and call every gay guy I know, child, and say let’s figure this out. I think mothers can handle it better than the dads. I think my problem would be, How are we going to tell your dad about this? That’s why I’d need help. I think after the moms get over it, they’d be like, Let’s go shopping. [Laughs]

You've made the transition from reality-based to scripted television. Are movies your next goal?

I did a film back in the day called The Fighting Temptations with Cuba Gooding Jr. I’m not opposed to film work, but I just happen to like TV. Actually, there is another project I have my eye on. It’s another Ryan Murphy film. It’s called One Hit Wonders. He’s already cast Beyoncé and Gwyneth Paltrow in it so maybe he can find me a little part in there as a backup singer or something. I would love to be a part of the film. Ryan Murphy, don’t forget to put me in One Hit Wonders. Ryan is very loyal.

Ryan is hosting a big fundraising dinner for President Obama next month. Will you attend?

I’d love to. I was invited to a few Obama fundraisers here in Atlanta, but some of them you just can’t afford to go to. I’m not kidding! They’re like $40,000 a plate. I’m like, What are you eating? [Laughs] There are some that are more affordable. Tyler Perry had one that was $5,000 so if you want to support Barack Obama you can buy a ticket.

So you’re friends with Tyler Perry. What’s he like?

I am very good friends with Tyler Perry. I really like him. I feel he’s very regular and humble and not over the top. You’d think that he would be because he has so much money and charters airplanes and all. But he’s just really regular. He’ll just pick up his cell phone and call me and we just chat. I chat with him like I chat with any other girlfriend or guy friend. He’s not Hollywood. He’s very humble.

Tags: television