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The ladies of the “Real Housewives of Atlanta” share plenty of on-screen drama, but it’s the behind-the-scenes conflict that has one housewife still reeling.

“I suppressed it. I’ve not talked about it for 10 years. I’ve never talked about it. I wanted to protect my kids,” said Shereé Whitfield to Andy Cohen about the abuse she said she suffered at the hands of ex-husband Bob Whitfield.

During last season’s reunion episode, the 47-year-old mother of three broke down when discussing her volatile relationship with Bob — the pair were married from 2000 to 2007 and had been together for 14 years in total.

In a sit-down interview with PEOPLE last month, the reality star revealed that up until that shocking revelation on live TV, her own children were unaware about the conflict that had occurred between their parents, and if not for the emotional reunion, she “never would’ve addressed the issues” at all.

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The latest episode this past Sunday was the first time Whitfield finally sat down with her kids — Kairo, 21, Kaleigh, 18, and her daughter from a previous relationship, Tierra Fuller, 32 — talked about the alleged verbal and emotional abuse from their father and explained why she’d remained silent for a long while.

“I’m sure y’all are on the internet, y’all heard the story about the domestic violence in the household,” she shared. “You know, I just kind of kept you guys away from, didn’t let you guys know what was going on. I just put on a happy face, but it was very toxic.”

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Bob Whitfield, 46, seemed to reveal his abuse during the previous season of the reality show; although he claimed he didn’t remember physically hurting his ex-wife, he revealed wishing he could crash and send her flying through a car window while driving and later said, “I don’t remember choking her, but if I did, I’m sorry. ‘Cause maybe I didn’t choke you hard enough,” when Shereé Whitfield claimed he’d choked her.

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“You need to know that nobody deserves to be mistreated,” Whitfield continued telling her kids. “You know, sometimes girls are thinking, ‘He hit me; he loves me.’ That’s not true. That’s not the way life should be. I don’t want you guys to follow my footsteps.”

According to PEOPLE, Whitfield said, “[By] speaking telling my story, I have enabled other women to speak up and tell their stories,” and she’s since become an ambassador for the National Coalition of Domestic Violence.

Christabel is a twenty-something graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University. She's a big fan of writing, television, movies, general pop culture and complaining about how they've annoyed her. Long live the Oxford comma.
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