The Bravo train is finally leaving the reality TV criminal capital of Giudice, New Jersey, and chugging south, to it’s often shady sister city of Atlanta.
“The Real Housewives of Atlanta“ premieres tonight, and while the convict parallel can be easily drawn between the slammer bound Joe and Teresa Giudice, and the now plopped back into the clink, Apollo Nida, how his wife, Phaedra Parks, fits into the seedy puzzle is certainly the wild card. She has worked long and hard to establish her over the top southern belle shtick, as well as keeping her accomplished career woman/supermom plates spinning, while covering who she really is underneath. Will the behind the scenes pressures crack the candy coated and hard fought for exterior, and reveal glimpses of the true Parks? While we know that her storyline is going to revolve around Apollo’s legal fiasco, there was much going on that will not be mentioned.
All About The Tea has decided that it would be interesting to align what was going on in the background with Parks during these long months of taping…so we could all go into the season with a good grip on the gritty and not so syrupy sweet circumstances that she was tackling while cheesing it up for her Bravo talking heads.
To begin, this season’s cast filming began in May or June. At this point Phaedra would have brushed up on her acting skills, and had her shopping for her new ‘push ’em up the there’ bras completed. In her real world, the May date when her husband, Apollo pleaded guilty to identity theft and bank fraud would likely be behind her, and the only question left unanswered would be how long he would be locked up this time. She was also in the midst of the defamation lawsuit she was pursuing against the author of “Lies of a Real Housewife: Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil,” Angela Stanton. This book candidly exposes the couples’ alleged scams involving check and theft fraud which resulted in Angela taking the fall and Phaedra wiggling free.
Angela also participated in a local radio interview on Atlanta’s Kiss 104.1, where she reiterated her assertion that Phaedra was the mastermind of an insurance scam in 2004, as well as dropped the bombshell that the feds had been in contact with her. This interview aired the day before Angela sat for a deposition in the above mentioned lawsuit. So while Bravo kicks off season 7, the pressure to pull off her cool, collected, innocent exterior was probably already a challenge for Parks. We all know that Bravo routinely pulls wonky editing whammys, but I did my best to line up the Bravo timeline with what was going on behind the scenes with Phaedra…so we can all watch with timely background truth as the backdrop.
- On June 19th, Phaedra sat for a five hour deposition with Stanton’s attorney, in which she displayed evasive, shifty, and obnoxiously unprofessional behavior. She refused to answer any questions pertaining to Apollo, and had to be reminded that her testimony was under the penalty of perjury. She was allegedly caught in lies several times throughout the process. Stanton’s attorney, James Radford has steadily maintained that her lawsuit against Stanton was frivolous, without merit, and also accused Parks of filing the lawsuit with the malicious intent of hindering the sales of Stanton’s book. This event lines up with the week of filming in which Phaedra was strangely absent. She sited family stress and the need for some days off to shift her focus there, but the broad suspicion is that she didn’t want attention drawn to the deposition process.
- On July 8th, Apollo was sentenced to 8 years in federal prison, for cashing stolen checks and laundering $2.3 million through phony bank accounts. Apollo expressed disappointment at Phaedra’s absence and her lack of support during his time of need. Phaedra sited protecting her children from the paparazzi as the reason she removed them and herself from the family home. She also chose to not be with him in court, which appeared to be the beginning of the public distancing of herself from her husband. A few days later she was back full blast on social media, promoting solo events, and sharing photos with other Bravolebrities.
- On July 17th, Apollo was seen on the red carpet at Peter Thomas’ and Cynthia Bailey’s Ebony Magazine, Bar One event, with Parks nowhere to be seen. Divorce rumors continued to swirl, but no confirmation of a decision had been reported. It is widely believed that by this point, the couple had been separated for weeks.
- From August 25-28 the women took a cast trip to Puerto Rico. This falls approximately two weeks before Apollo is to surrender to serve his 8 year sentence. Apollo was purportedly filming frequently during this period, wanting to be seen and supposedly irking Parks with his showy need for attention, rather than keeping what she considered to be a respectful low profile.
- On September 10th, Apollo was scheduled to surrender to begin his sentence, and even tweeted a farewell to the world, but it took about a day before his name was listed in the BOP data base. The delay was puzzling, and rumors swirled around what was occurring during this period. About a month later, Parks filed for divorce, as expected.
- On October 10th, Angela Stanton’s attorney filed a second “Motion to Compel”, forcing Parks into being deposed a second time, with the requirement of submissive cooperation with full discovery, in direct response to her ornery refusal of full disclosure during the first go round. A Gwinnett County judge signed off on the motion, but we have no evidence that the deposition has taken place yet.
- On October 14th , Parks appeared on the Ellen show, declared her undying love for Apollo, her sadness for her children, and dished on impending Housewives drama. She also claimed that she was completely ignorant of all knowledge and denied having even the slightest hint of her husband’s criminal activity. She appeared noticeably shifty and carefully rehearsed. She also stupidly instigated cast member, Claudia Jordan, who fired back by tweeting a direct link to Stanton’s incriminating tell all.
- From October 27- November 1st, the cast visited the Philippines and is currently preparing to wrap for the season.
Will Phaedra pull off her self proclaimed naive, perfectly innocent, overachieving, southern belle persona in a believable way? I plan to watch her body language, subtle expressions, and nuances carefully. I look forward to watching Phaedra Parks squirm.