“Absolutely I want people to like and love me. I don’t like for people to not like and love me. I don’t like being portrayed as a villain.”

*NeNe Leakes … the mere mention of the name causes the everyday purveyor of reality television based pop culture to become titillated. And that’s putting it mildly. She is said to be as caustic as the dragon’s breath, as deadly as snake’s venom and as treacherous as the jagged dagger to the back, or at least that’s what she has been made out to be.

By appearances she’s none of that. She appears to be sweet, appears to be humble and appears to be as curvy as the letter S.  But we can’t always go by how things appear. If we were judging by NeNe Leakes’ frequent explosive outbursts on “Real Housewives of Atlanta” then we could see how you might not want her to pet your puppy, but after her conversation with EURweb.com’s Lee Bailey, we’re reassessing our feelings about NeNe.  Maybe you will too.

Recently NeNe’s name has been splattered throughout the blog world for her alleged feuding with Star Jones on Donald Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” (premiering Sunday night at 9pm (8pm central) on NBC). Well, you can remove the “alleged” part. It’s all real. Here’s Ms. Leakes’ take on it.

“What I have to say about Star Jones is yes we’re both contestants on ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ and when I first arrived at (the tapings) I wouldn’t say Star Jones and I made a connection, but we would talk,” she explained. “Nobody’s really talking about that. We would have dinner together every night, we would have drinks together.  We double dated with my husband and her boyfriend, I kept her dog, she met my son.  All of those things. I am very loyal.  If I’m down with you, then I’m down with you.”

OK, if NeNe’s down with you, then she’s down with you.  So what, one might ask, was the reason why she and Jones are no longer down? We have a feeling it had something to do with the game.

“I didn’t go into the game trying to play it strategic,” said Leakes.  “I went into the game trying to play it however it happens.  If I play a game of cards with you I just want to play it fairly. If I win, I win. Star wanted to have this strategic plan going in. So, I told her whatever her plan was I would be loyal to her while I’m there and she would be loyal to me. She showed a side to me that was not loyal and caused us to bump heads while we were there at ‘Celebrity Apprentice’.  I don’t dislike Star because I’m in a different place today than I was when we shot that show.  We shot that in October of last year.

Though Leakes says she doesn’t dislike Ms. Star Jones, she did have this to say:

“I do think you have to be very special to deal with Star. I don’t think that she’s very fair. I think that she has some issues.”

We feel your point Ms Leakes, but in all fairness everyone has their issues.  And what of the issue of the alleged restraining order Star is said to have put out on you?

“I just heard this today that somebody had said that Star had filed a restraining order,” said Leakes. “I don’t know if that’s a rumor or not.  I can tell you that if there was a restraining order filed I know nothing of it because no one ever told me to stay away from Star. I haven’t put my hands on anyone. I don’t do that. Now, we did get into an argument and I did get in her face, but I never touched Star. I also heard today that Mr. Trump said that things had gotten so bad, I don’t know what he was referring to, that he had to call the police. I was like ‘Really? Are they making up some things that I didn’t see?’ I certainly wasn’t in a scene where the police were called. I don’t want to bad mouth Star anymore than I already have.  She’s not one of my favorite people and I’ll leave it at that.”

The show must go on, nevermind what the truth is and what’s really going on. You should know that by now Ms. Leakes. And now that NeNe is in a “better place” does she regret having said she wouldn’t spit on Star Jones if she were on fire?

“I absolutely don’t regret that and that is just me being very real with you and that is really how I felt about Star,” Leakes emphasized, “I don’t think she’s cool, I really don’t. I actually think that if I were on fire she wouldn’t spit on me either.”

While speaking with NeNe we couldn’t help but feel as if this wasn’t the same person we witnessed on television week after week. Were we being bedazzled by that legendary Georgia charm or what? She is cast as the villain on both “Real Housewives of Atlanta” and “Celebrity Apprentice.”  How does one deal with that title?

“Well, I’m obviously not happy about it and it doesn’t feel good for people to portray your character that way,” she admitted.  “I don’t think that I’m a villain, I was going through a really tough time during the filming of ‘Celebrity Apprentice’, because of my divorce and I still am.”

So, if we’re to be clear, NeNe Leakes divorce drama was partly to blame for her bouts with Star Jones and getting in Kim Zolciak’s face on “RHOA?” Oh yeah, when Kim’s name came up NeNe stopped us in our proverbial tracks.

“You wouldn’t think that Kim is a villain?”

Judging from the show we have to say yes.

“You wouldn’t think that Star is a villain?”

We weren’t too sure about answering that. After all, she is a lawyer and just might sue.

“She does have a rep out here.  I don’t think that I’m a villain because I’m very real, I am a human, I do have highs and lows, I’m not perfect.  I do learn from my mistakes.”

To be human is to feel both pleasure and pain. But it appeared as though Leakes did not care how she was portrayed on “Real Housewives” at times.  We were convinced that she was unconcerned whether people liked or loved her or not. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Absolutely I want people to like and love me,” she implored. “I don’t like for people to not like and love me. I don’t like being portrayed as a villain, but I don’t have any control over editing. I don’t like being the villain but it is what it is. I don’t have any control over how they do it.  I know they’re running a lot of trailers of me in Star’s face. I was in her face, I can’t take that back. I was in her face and I felt she deserved me being in her face.”

What’s real and what’s make believe? One would think that real has to be part of reality television. Heck, it’s in the name. But Grandma would always say the truth will set you free, then she would turn around and whip you after you fessed up. The moral to the story?: The truth may set you free, but it hurts too.

“Celebrity Apprentice” premieres this Sunday, March 6th (at 9pm E/P on NBC) and the truth surrounding Star Jones’ and NeNe Leakes’ feud will come out.  In the meantime, we’ll continue part two of our sitdown with Ms. Leakes after the dust settles.  Stay tuned!