Viewers have watched Kandi Burruss' daughter, Riley Burruss, grow up before their very eyes. And as this season of The Real Housewives of Atlanta unfolds, Kandi will have to try and figure out what the next best step is for the 14-year-old RHOA daughter and her estranged dad, Russell "Block" Spencer. Kandi admits that it's drama she has long tried to avoid and is still uncertain about her ex's intentions.
"For me, that was never anything I want to exploit, the relationship between my daughter and her father, because they really don't have a relationship, and he really hasn't been around pretty much her whole life," she told The Daily Dish. "We'll hear from him, and then we don't hear from him for a year. Then we'll hear from him, then a couple years go by, then you hear from him. It's never been consistent communication or anything."
On Sunday's episode of RHOA, we learned more about her ex, who is the founder of Block Entertainment record label (which has been home to artists like Boyz N Da Hood). We also met his current girlfriend, Kris Kelli, who happens to be signed to the label as well. Kris makes an unannounced appearance at Kandi's offices in an attempt to start a dialogue about Riley and Block.
"That was such a surprise to me," Kandi said. "It had been a year since I had talked to him. We hadn't talked on the phone in a year, so it was just like, 'What are you doing here?'"
Still, Kandi says she has no plans to stand between Riley and Block, if her daughter is interested in establishing a relationship with him.
"At the end of the day he is her father, and if he chooses that he wants to make another attempt that he wants to be in her life, of course, we have to have that conversation," she said, noting that whatever does happen, consistency is key and that Riley has to be the one who decides what she wants.
"He's saying we need to talk about how we're going to co-parent, but I'm like, 'The parenting is pretty much done now, buddy.' She's already become pretty much the person she's going to be," Kandi said. "Now I'm not saying that there's no value in having a relationship at this point, but for me, it was just kind of like, 'Where are you coming from with this?' But, OK. I'm just gonna leave it up to her."
Kandi, who welcomed son Ace back in January, shared that Block has four other kids: two daughters older than Riley and a pair of twin boys a year younger. She noted that as a dad, "he never encouraged the relationship." However, one of the older daughters did reach out several years ago, as did the sons. "It's really on him," she said. "He has custody of his sons, so if you really wanted them to be around each other, you would be bringing them around each other."
Riley's stepdad, Todd Tucker, has been more encouraging about establishing ties between the daughter and father, considering his own journey to finding out about his daughter, Kaela, after she was born. "He feels like fathers need more respect. He feels like she should give her dad a chance. I'm not against it," she said. "But I don't want it to feel like they're being an opportunist . . . If this a thing that you just want the benefit of promotion, that is a little problem for me."
Stay tuned every Sunday at 8/7c to see what's next for Kandi. And check out throwback photos of her, below.