The innanets are on fire with the news that Sheree Whitfield, star of the Real Housewives of Atlanta, is leaving the show after four years of wig-pulling, cat-fighting and more petty black girl drama than any one person should be able to stand.
Sheree told WetPaint Entertainment she’s leaving because she’s totally over the direction of the show, an intoxicating brew of sometime friendships, scorched loyalties and conspicuous consumption that’s made Sheree and co-stars NeNe Leakes, Phaedra Parks, Cynthia Bailey, Kandi Burruss and Kim Zolciak the talk of reality show crazy town.
Though rumors that she’d been fired began winding their way through social media a few weeks ago—Did NeNe issue an “it’s her or me” ultimatum? Did Bravo decide her storyline is too boring? Is she being dismissed because she’s too broke to rep the “living large” lifestyles of the Real Housewives franchise?—Sheree insists it was she who made the decision to leave.
After four solid seasons of helping Bravo build the show into its most successful Housewives franchise, I have decided to leave. The direction the show is going in is no longer a fit for my lifestyle. I’m tired of the fighting and the cattiness.
I want to be part of something that empowers and inspires women to not only be healthy, but to treat themselves with respect. I wish the rest of the women the best of luck. I’m thrilled to say I’m now a free agent and am already fielding offers.
Let the innanets tell it and you would think an Atlanta McMansion finally fell on the Wicked Witch of the West. Everywhere I turned this morning, there were fiery comments about Sheree, each one more cruel than the last. Between the “boo, bitch, byes” and the “shut the door on your way outs,” there were the deeply disturbing comments calling the divorced single mother of three stupid, raking her over the coals for trying to get her deadbeat ex-husband, former Atlanta Falcon Bob Whitfield, to pay child support, and making fun of her for downsizing from a mansion to a tiny apartment with what appeared to be very little furniture.
While I can’t claim to be #TeamSheree—yes, I watch the show; yes, I wrote NeNe’s book; yes, I think Sheree manufactured, started, escalated and failed to finish a lot of the catty silliness the women foolishly fought over; yes, my favorites are Phaedra and Kandi because the two are working moms with brilliant business minds and don’t seem to have to pull anyone down in order to climb in their success—I’m really quite bothered by black women’s reverence and downright glee for seeing this single mom fail. Sure, Sheree probably made some questionable decisions in her day, but really, her story feels particularly sad to me: She had her first child at age 15, failed to finish high school, spent time in jail for shoplifting, married a rich guy, lived the good life—no doubt woefully unaware of her husband’s true financial worth or any real idea of how to handle the riches—got divorced, made more not-so-smart financial decisions (again, probably because she had no clue how to handle money) and, after four years of reality show checks, is trying to figure out how to feed herself and her two children. Key word: children.
Has Sheree made mistakes? You bet. Name one mother who hasn’t. But should we be holding parties with balloons, streamers and adult beverages because she’s lost her seemingly only paycheck and now is faced with having to figure out how she’ll keep a roof over her kids’ heads, keep food in their bellies and make a decent life for them as they grow?
I think not.
Now that she’s no longer going to be on the Real Housewives of Atlanta, the 42-year-old Sheree Whitfield says she plans to pursue a career as a fitness expert. Here at MyBrownBaby, we say good for her. We’re rooting for her as she tries to get her life together—not only for her reality star’s sake, but for the sake of her kids.
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Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.