RHOA fans have been left stunned by the death of Gregg Leakes – but none will be grieving more than his wife of 24 years after the beloved star died of colon cancer at 66.
The real estate investor passed away on September 1st, as family and friends rushed to remember his impact on their lives.
NeNe, 53, and Gregg, who died today at age 66, had a long and tumultuous history of romance.
The couple first met in 1996 when the Real Housewives of Atlanta star was working as an exotic dancer.
Gregg persuaded her to leave the job, as he was immediately convinced he would “marry” her one day.
In an episode of RHOA, NeNe described their meet-cute further, saying: “You and me exchanged number, and he left me a voicemail and he was like, ‘Give Big Daddy a call.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, hell, no!'”
“He said, ‘I’ma marry you one day.’ I said, ‘Uh uh uh!’ He did not ask me to sleep with him.
“Actually, I was thinking to myself, like, ‘Now, what’s going on?’ And from that point on, I was just in the bed with no clothes on,” she revealed.
It didn’t take long for Gregg’s prediction to come true, and within six months of meeting the duo was engaged.
In an old video from their 1997 ceremony, the father of six told the camera: “I am the most happy man in the world—happiest, rather—to have a beautiful wife like NeNe.
“I love her with all my heart. I look forward to making her happy the rest of my life,” he gushed.
In a conversation with Uncensored in 2018, NeNe reflected on how quickly they made a commitment to forever.
“I was very young when I started dating Gregg and he had been married before.
“I had never been married before and he had children from his previous marriage and I had one child,” she reflected.
“So we got engaged really quick, like six months in, and we were married like a year later.”
EXPANDING THE FAMILY
NeNe and Gregg welcomed their son Brentt in February of 1999, the couple’s only child together.
The TV personality also had a son, Bryson Bryant, from a previous relationship, and her husband had five kids Daryl, Damian, Dexter, Denton, and Katrina when they met.
INTO THE SPOTLIGHT
In 2008, NeNe was launched into stardom when Real Housewives of Atlanta premiered and further erupted into fame after several explosive altercations with her co-stars.
By the third season, her relationship with Gregg was on its downfall, and their issues were aired on TV for all to see.
The mother of two was even filmed while meeting with a divorce attorney and her husband was recorded venting to a radio host about their problems.
THE END OF AN ERA
In 2011, NeNe and Gregg divorced after 14 years of marriage.
The real estate consultant believed that fame went to his wife’s head, though she felt he had not been “treating” her correctly.
In a conversation with Uncensored that year, she explained: “We were super tight, good friends—I mean, we’ve always been that way through me ever knowing Gregg.
“I think a lot of people were surprised when I filed for divorce. I filed for divorce because I always felt like you have to teach people how to treat you and I felt like at that time that Gregg wasn’t treating me the way I felt I should be treated,” she continued.
“It was me teaching Gregg a lesson, and I think he got it.”
In 2012, fans watched as Gregg worked hard to win back his wife.
However, NeNe remained private on the matter, once telling Us Weekly: “You know, we’re divorced. I’m single and not looking. Love is beautiful thing and marriage is a beautiful thing.”
SECOND TIMES’ A CHARM
In January of 2013, the pair announced their second engagement and made plans to walk down the aisle again.
The two remarried on June 22, 2013, at the InterContinental Buckhead Hotel in Atlanta, and the event was aired as a Bravo special.
After a brief two-year hiatus from RHOA, NeNe returned for season 10 alongside her man.
However, a wrench was thrown in the plan when Gregg was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in June of 2018.
After undergoing treatment, the TV star was declared in remission, but the good news did not last long.
By June of 2021, cancer had returned and had taken a turn for the worst, according to NeNe.
Gregg’s battle with the disease was followed throughout season 11 of RHOA, and his struggle nearly cost the couple their marriage for a second time.
On September 1st, 2021, longtime family friend Ernest Dukes announced that the husband and father “passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by all his children, very close loved ones, and wife NeNe Leakes.”
“We ask that you pray for peace and strength over their family & allow them to mourn in private during this very very difficult time,” his statement requested.