Most people don’t know that Mama Joyce Jones Real Housewives of Atlanta (which airs Sundays at 8 p.m.) had two children: a son named Patrick who died at 22 due in a head-on collision and the attractive and talented Kandi Burruss, who was 15 at the time.
So when I asked Jones if she is a bit overprotective of her one and only child, she naturally answered yes.
For those of you who have been keeping up with the hullabaloo of the Bravo reality series, Jones has been typecast as someone who is rude and disrespectful when it comes to her daughter’s relationship with fiancé, Todd Tucker.
During a recent phone interview, however, she showed a kindlier, more gentle side, and provided some context not provided in the show.
She refuted an unfair assumption by cast member Cynthia Bailey that caused her and housewife daughter to be on the outs.
Guest Sandra Bernhard asked, who takes care of her, recounted Jones. "Cynthia replied, 'I believe Kandi does.' She knows that’s not true.” Shorty after hearing this, Jones called Burruss and asked her to call into the show and correct the comment that was made.
“Kandi doesn't take care of me. I have savings, social security, and rental property along with the insurance money from when my son passed away. I didn't waste it like most people. I put that money in bonds. I don’t need Kandi to take care of me. I take care of myself.”
The same evening Burruss was on a radio talk show. A caller asked the same thing that was on the minds of many others. Did Kandi think her mother’s fear or dislike of Todd stem from her not being able to have access to any of Kandi’s money? Kandi’s emotional breakdown in defense of her mother caused quite a stir.
“I don’t care if she doesn't like my relationship — that’s my mom. I don’t care what you guys have to say; that’s my mama. And I’m going to make sure my mama is good.” Kandi’s voice broke mid-rant.
A wary Jones explains how upsetting it was to see her child crying and hurt, but it affected her more because this particular wound was caused by what people think of her.
“People think I’m only in her business because I’m worried about money," she said. It hurts me”
With all the drama that has been going on, it left me wondering how it would affect the youngest member of the family — Kandi’s daughter, Riley. According to Jones, Riley is doing well; she is a quiet child and doesn't say too much about what’s going on. "We still spend time together, she comes over and I’ll cook. I’m still grandma."
And for all those wondering about where things stand now, Burruss and Jones are speaking. In fact they spent time together for New Years and even sat down for a game of Pokeno with the family. No, Todd wasn't there.
As far as the relationship between Mama Joyce and Tucker: “I’m cordial but I honestly haven’t seen him since he worked on Kandi’s play. It was a Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker production, but funded solely by Kandi.”
Jones explained it’s not that she doesn’t like Tucker; it’s more about not liking his work ethic. According to Jones when Burruss and Tucker decided to go public about their relationship, he was a producer on the show. They would have to meet with Bravo and he would have to stop working for them. Not long after leaving production for RHOA, Tucker worked on Kim and Kroy and then he took two months off work claiming he had some money saved.
“Who does that?” said Jones.
As far as the foolishness that happened between Jones and Burruss’ longtime friend and assistant Carmen, Jones had a" shoulda, coulda, woulda" moment.
“I wish I could have changed what happened at the bridal shop and to anyone that I hurt or offended, I’m sorry. If I could take it all back I would.” However she also stated that due to editing, we didn’t see the full story. What we saw looks like one big incident but it wasn't at all.
By the end of our conversation I had a better understanding and even appreciation for Jones. I’m sure most of us have had blow-ups with a parental figure about someone we are dating. Yes, things could have been handled better looking back on them. However last time I checked, we were all human and made mistakes. “If Kandi is happy, I’m happy and I hope Todd can be the man she deserves,” said Jones.
And for all who were curious whether Mama Joyce has a man of her own, the answer is yes. Her gentleman caller who she didn’t refer to by name has been courting her for a year and a half, although they have been friends for 16 years. The one piece of advice she gave was this,” If you are pushing or selling a product then reality TV is the place to be, but if you are happily married or in a happy partnership, emphasis on happy, then reality TV is not for you. With that being said, viewers shouldn't look forward to seeing her fellow on the show if she has anything to say about it.”
Editor's note: Real Housewives of Atlanta notoriety is shifting to Real Housewives of Atlanta star Phaedra Parks' husband, who is in hot water after getting charged with bank fraud and identity theft. Read more here.