*Phaedra Parks denied any knowledge of Apollo Nida’s fraudulent activity in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres that aired Wednesday.
“I work. I just got my fifth college degree,” said the 40-year-old “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star. “And so I am pretty much an overachiever. I have two very small children. I just stopped breast-feeding three months ago. I didn’t have any idea that any of this was going on until he called me and said, ‘Hey, I’ve been arrested and I’m having this problem, but it’s not true.’”
Parks, a lawyer herself, added that she went out of her way to get the best lawyers and investigators to help Nida, 35. He ultimately pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges in May. In addition to serving eight years in prison, Nida was ordered to pay $1.9 million in restitution.
She says she is trying hard, despite nasty allegations from her ex, to remain positive for the sake of their children. Nida had previously lashed out when she didn’t attend his sentencing hearing.
“It is extremely hard,” Parks says of moving on. “My heart aches for my two sons. They are the heart and soul of who I am.”
“That’s the best thing we ever did together – we have great kids. I never want to do anything to diminish his character in public,” said Parks, who was still wearing her wedding ring. “We’ve had some times when he’s done things that weren’t so cool, weren’t so nice.”
Nida has alleged that Parks cheated on him with a man supposedly named “Chocolate,” which DeGeneres grills her about, even as Parks claims the story was fabricated to discredit her.
“I think it’s totally absurd to think I cheated,” she tells DeGeneres. “They’re saying I had an affair with a man from Africa named Chocolate. Everybody knows that I do love a Snickers bar every once in a while, but it’s definitely not a man from Africa that I’ve ever had an affair with.”
“Do you know a man named Chocolate?” DeGeneres teases.
“No,” she says, before adding: “I do know Mr. Goodbar, though.”
Last week, Parks reportedly retained a lawyer with the intent to end her five-year marriage.
Her interview with DeGeneres comes one day after she was ordered by a judge to open up about anything she knows about Nida’s illegal activity. The entertainment lawyer will sit down for a second deposition in her defamation lawsuit against author Angela Stanton, who claims Parks knows more about Nida’s activities than she admits.