With a hit show, a Broadway role and a happy marriage, NeNe Leakes should be on top of the world. But the reality star has been harboring a secret heartache: the incarceration of her son, Bryson Bryant.
“It’s every parent’s worst nightmare for their child to be in jail, and unfortunately it became her reality,” said a friend. “She’s been devastated.”
Recently unearthed court documents reveal that, last September, a Georgia judge sentenced Bryson to three months in jail for a probation violation. The trouble began in June 2013, when he was charged with reckless driving and a DUI after crashing his car. Bryson, dad of 2-year-old Bri’Asia, was sentenced to one year of probation plus 30 days house arrest, but he failed to meet with his probation officer on four occasions.
Even worse, he tested positive for cocaine during mandatory drug testing, skipped his court-required driving school and refused to pay a $1,200 fine, leaving prosecutors no choice but to revoke his probation and send him to jail last fall. After his release on Nov. 25, Bryson was sentenced to at least six weeks of “intensive” rehab and may still be receiving treatment.
“NeNe has spent years trying to get her son on the right path — but nothing has worked,” says the tipster. “She hoped his sentencing would be a wakeup call.”
The outspoken reality star has had her own run-ins with the law, including three arrests for probation violations in the two years after being convicted of bilking the phone company in 1992. But she hoped her son would choose a better path — or at least not live under the shadow of his crimes.
“NeNe has tried to keep this hidden and hardly told anyone that Bryson was in jail,” explains the friend. “She’s been carrying this huge weight on her shoulders for months without anyone knowing and hoped his court records wouldn’t ever be found. This whole situation has just been a nightmare.”