Shereé Whitfield‘s mysterious “Love” necklace was finally explained on Sunday’s Real Housewives of Atlanta, when she revealed to castmates that she’s been dating Tyrone Gilliams — who is currently in federal prison for an alleged white collar crime.
“I feel like he gets me,” Whitfield, 47, gushed as the Atlanta Housewives touched down in San Francisco for a girls trip. “We’ve been talking on the phone.”
Longtime friends Whitfield and Gilliams had lost contact for about four years before reconnecting and beginning their romantic relationship. They then dated for approximately eight months before his prison sentence — which Whitfield said she had no knowledge of until he went in.
“I didn’t know he went away! We broke up,” she said. “We stopped talking before he went to prison because he didn’t want to get me involved in any of that.”
Soon thereafter, they reconnected and have been going strong since. “You know what, honestly, I’ve gotten to know this man on a much deeper level,” she told PEOPLE Now in November. “Probably deeper than I’ve ever known anyone. We have nothing but time to talk and get to know each other.”
“He’s a good guy and, you know, he supports me. I can talk to him about anything. He’s my best friend,” she continued. “He just got caught up in the wrong craziness, and hopefully he’ll be back soon.”
News of the relationship took some of the ladies by surprise on Sunday’s RHOA, though no one was more shocked than NeNe Leakes. “You love Tyrone?” she screamed.
That’s because the last time Gilliams came up on the hit Bravo show, he was the catalyst for one of the most iconic arguments in Housewives history as Leakes and Whitfield clashed over booking rates for paid appearances Gilliams was setting up.
The drama went down in the first episode of season 4, as the two women met to clear the air about a deal that ultimately fell through.
“When we were going to Philly, I got a phone call from Tyrone about this opportunity to make money. I reached out to you, asked you if you were available on those dates and what your rate was. You said you were available so I called Tyrone and he said, ‘Okay cool,’” Whitfield has said. “Later on that day, I started getting calls that you’d been calling Tyrone saying, ‘You could have gotten Shereé for much cheaper and took the money off the top.’ And to me, that was very shady.”
That claim didn’t sit well with Leakes. “How long have you known Tyrone? You didn’t know Tyrone, but you’ve known me, and you decided to take what Tyrone said and believed it.”
Eventually, Whitfield called Tyrone, who backed up Whitfield’s claims. But by that point, Leakes wasn’t interested.
“What you don’t understand is while you were running your mouth with him, I was running to the bank and depositing a Trump check. Donald Trump,” Leakes shouted, referring to her stint on the now-president’s then-reality show Celebrity Apprentice. “I am rich … I am very rich, bitch.”
REAL HOUSEWIVES REWIND: NeNe Leakes Is ‘Very Rich Bitch’ As She Fights with Shereé Whitfield Over Tyrone Gilliams Booking
All that behind them, Leakes appeared supportive of Whitfield to her face. But behind her back, it looks like another story.
“You know, she was definitely very shocked, but she says she doesn’t have a problem with it,” Whitfield told PEOPLE Now. “She says she’s fine, but then, you know, you really watch to watch to see, because I don’t know, I get mixed signals. She tells me that she’s fine with it, and maybe she’s telling the other girls something else.”
Whitfield’s right. In a preview for next week’s episode, Kandi Burruss confronts Leakes about Gilliams. “Why were you so surprised about her dating him?” she asks.
“I met him before she did,” Leakes says of Gilliams and Whitfield. “He’s a con artist.”
“I hope he don’t con her out of Chateau Shereé,” Burruss says.
The Real Housewives of Atlanta airs Sundays (at 8 p.m. ET) on Bravo.