NeNe Leakes missed the season premiere and will reportedly sit out Episode 2 as well -- and now, she's explaining why. Speaking with PEOPLE, the reality TV star says she was still "trying to work my contract out" when they started filming Season 12.
"There were a lot of rumors around the time and I was really skeptical about what I was going to do," she explained. "I really didn't know what I was going to do, I really didn't. I had one foot in and one foot out."
On "The Wendy Williams Show" Monday morning, the talk show host revealed she had been texting with Leakes while watching the new episode last night. NeNe told her she wouldn't appear in the premiere and, when asked if she had any statement she'd like to share with Williams' "cohosts," this is what Leakes sent over:
"No matter how hard they try, when people think about Atlanta 'Housewives' they think about NeNe Leakes and all the comments on social media last night prove that. That is not to say the other girls don't bring it, because they do, it's just factssssss."
Season 11 was a volatile one for Leakes, who was dealing with husband Gregg's cancer diagnosis at the same time as the fallout with her former BFF Cynthia Bailey and a physical altercation with one of the show's cameramen. The reunion was explosive as well, with NeNe telling PEOPLE she was "very hurt" by how her costars treated her at the taping.
"I don't regret anything that happened," she said. "I'm not one of those people who actually express how I feel a lot. I keep that inside, and a lot of [my costars] know that. But I do believe that because somebody is louder or moves more boldly, a lot of time those are the people who always get the finger pointed at them. And honestly, that's always the case with me."
Leakes will make her Season 12 debut in the third episode, airing November 17.