It's not all that often that a reality show can give you relationship advice that you shouldn't run from, but Season 9 of The Real Housewives of Atlanta just might be an exception. Cynthia Bailey's divorce from Peter Thomas has not only been a lesson in respect and maturity, but that lesson was apparently inspired by an unlikely source — Michelle Obama. That's according to a recent interview Bailey gave People, where she looks back at her time on the show, from marrying Peter Thomas in her first season with the franchise to divorcing him in her seventh, and how the time in between helped her find the strength within herself not to let the end of the relationship taint the rest of it. The fact that Cynthia Bailey got this relationship advice from Michelle Obama is really tripping me out, even though it makes so much sense.
Before we get too carried away here, I do just want to let you know that Bailey and Obama don't actually seem to know each other, although I wish they did. Instead, she pulled her inspiration from a speech that the former First Lady gave during the 2016 Presidential Campaign, and she couldn't be more glad she did. As Bailey told People:
One of the things I’ll look back on after I transition on from the show and reality TV or this show in particular is how proud I am of how I handled myself throughout this divorce. I’m so glad I went high instead of going low — shoutout to Michelle Obama! These platforms aren’t always set up for you to go high. When you go low they just want you to go lower when the other person goes low. But I made a conscious decision to serve my soul and my purpose and so far it’s been working out for me.
What I love about this quote is how genuine and honest it feels. As Bailey notes, the Real Housewives franchise is all but designed to both instigate and fuel drama, so, while her supportive, respectful divorce would be admirable in any context, it's especially so on a show like RHOA. The audience wants to see someone screaming at their ex-husband at a charity function, or see him hurling accusations accusations behind their back. And, to be honest, that's something that would probably also feel good in the moment sometimes. So the fact that Bailey and Thomas avoided going down that road is, frankly, stunning.
Michelle Obama's advice was intended for politically-engaged people who were angered or upset by the things said by the opposite party, which is a universal message. So, while I'm busy patting myself on the back for listening to Michelle Obama's voice in my head and not firing off a snarky tweet, Cynthia Bailey is over there treating her former partner with acceptance and respect during the dissolution of their years-long marriage. Excuse me while I get a slow clap going for this class act, holding her own, speaking her truth, and making me proud in a situation that's taken down many other Housewives.