NeNe Leakes Breaks Silence on Criminal Past

Blames her 1992 felony charges on single motherhood.

Posted: 04/02/2014 08:45 AM EDT

NeNe Leakes may be one of the richest reality stars on television these days, but there was a time she had to resort to desperate measures to make ends meet. A week after Star Magazine exposed Leakes' criminal past, the Real Housewives of Atlanta star is copping to her previous mistakes.

According to Star, which obtained documents from Athens-Clarke County Superior Court, Leakes was charged with one misdemeanor and three felony counts of "theft of services" for ripping off her phone company in 1992, when she was 25 years old. A mug shot of a drastically different-looking Leakes accompanied the exposé.

In a plea agreement, she pleaded guilty to all four counts and was put on two years’ probation and ordered to repay $2,650. Over the next two years, though, the future reality TV star was arrested three more times for probation violations. 

Leakes kept the charges well-hidden until now, admitting only to a misdemeanor shoplifting charge on her record in her 2009 autobiography Never Make the Same Mistake Twice. But now, facing the hard evidence, she's taken to Twitter to explain herself. "22 years ago I was lost, scared, trapped & a single mom! I care enough abt myself 2 change my life & u can 2! Wit God, anything is possible," she tweeted, putting an optimistic spin on the scandal.

Indeed, it's hard to deny Leakes' life has done a 180 in the past few years, but she's also been known to throw shade on her fellow RHOA castmembers for their own criminal pasts. After news of Marlo Hampton's own record came to light in recent weeks (she was arrested in 1999, at age 23, for aggravated battery, a first-degree felony), Leakes blogged about her frenemy: "She slashed a friend's face with a knife and disfigured her over a man."

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(Photo: Clarke County Sheriff's Office)

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