Why NeNe Leakes' Latest Selfie Has Fans Doing A Double Take

On September 1, 2021, reality star NeNe Leakes' husband, Gregg Leakes died from colon cancer (via ET Online). According to NeNe, 66-year-old Gregg was previously diagnosed with the disease back in 2018, but was declared cancer-free by May of 2019. Unfortunately, the cancer returned about a year later, and Leakes died surrounded by his loved ones. Publicist Ernest Dukes, a close family friend, announced in a statement,"Today the Leakes family is in deep pain with a broken heart. After a long battle with cancer, Gregg Leakes has passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by all of his children, very close loved ones and wife Nene Leakes."

Following Gregg's death, NeNe honored her husband by holding a "celebration of life" at her Linnethia Lounge in Atlanta (via People). Many of the pairs' closest friends attended the event, including Nene's former "Real Housewives of Atlanta" costars Porsha Williams and Eva Marcille.

NeNe Leakes wants to keep Gregg's memory alive

Following the memorial, Nene took to Instagram to share photos from the event. She captioned the collection, "It took a whole day for me to decide if i wanted to post pictures from Gregg's 'Celebration Of Life' Ceremony. What a celebration it was!" She continued, "I am grateful for all of you. THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!I LOVE GREGG SO MUCH AND MISS HIM A LOT. I will continue to be strong and celebrate his life." In addition to the "celebration of life" ceremony, Nene took to Instagram to share some of her favorite moments with her late husband. She posted videos of the pair dancing, kissing, and even serenading one another.

Since Gregg's death, NeNe has periodically updated fans on how she's feeling at the moment. A few days ago, the reality star shared an Instagram post with the caption, "My first Sunday without you Gregg! The struggle is real. Our circle was always full of love." Though her most recent Instagram post was intended to keep with a pattern of positivity, it instead caused confusion among her fans.

Nene Leakes looks unrecognizable

On September 16, 2021, "Real Housewives of Atlanta" veteran NeNe Leakes shared a selfie with the caption "Pushing thru" (via Instagram). Though the post was meant to update her 3.9 million fans on how she's healing from the loss of her husband Gregg Leakes, her followers felt the star looked unrecognizable in the photo (via Page Six). One person commented, "Who's this in the picture? That's not nene?" while another wrote, "I'm sorry but this is the strangest picture ! Who is that ? What happened?" One person flat out said they didn't recognize the actress. The commenter wrote, "Nene this picture scared me. "I didn't recognize you. All love."

NeNe eventually noticed the negative feedback she was receiving and limited her comments to only positive reactions. Perhaps she didn't let the negativity affect her because the reason for her "new look" was the use of an Instagram filter and a new hair color. Observant fans noticed that Nene's unusual appearance in the selfie mimicked the way she looked in a series of videos she shared to her Instagram story. In the videos she posted talking about her grief, there is a logo in the top right corner that reveals she used a filter. Luckily, NeNe eventually returned to her Instagram stories to address the confusion and confirm that she took the selfie while using a beauty cam app (via OK Magazine).

NeNe Leakes is adjusting to her new normal

As for her new blonde hair, NeNe explained that she headed to the hair salon to switch up her color (via OK Magazine). She said, "Today I felt like going to the salon, so that was good. I normally don't go to the salon. I usually let people come to my house. So today I decided to drive to the salon and actually sit in the salon with other women. And that was good to be around other people." 

The former "Real Housewives" favorite also revealed the thought process behind her blonde locks (via Page Six). She shared, "So I played in dark hair long enough. Now that I'm having to adjust to my new life. My new normal. I thought I'd go back to blonde." The 53-year-old also shared that she's coping with her loss through staying close to her loved ones. She concluded, "I have a whole group of people that's coming to my house everyday doing different stuff with me. So. Trying to keep my mind off of ... you know. Events that recently happened. Love you guys. I'm OK and I'm pushing through." While it's going to take time for NeNe to grieve the loss of Gregg, its a blessing that she has a support system that will help her through this difficult process.