Apollo Nida sat down with Sister2Sister magazine for their May issue and laid it all out there! Probably a little more than he should have, but that's what reality stars do, right? Apollo dished on everything from his past and how he got started in a life of crime. He talks prison life, his marriage status with Phaedra Parks, and the new criminal complaint against him.
We've grabbed some of the highlights, but we highly recommend picking up a copy of the magazine because it's an interesting read! It's six pages long and I tried to squeeze as much as I could in, but trust me – you want to read it in its entirety!
Apollo starts off talking about his mother OD'ing on heroin when he was just seven years old. He says she had it tough because she was a German woman shunned for being in a relationship with a black man. He met his father around age 20 but didn't have anything to do with that side of his family. "She was kind of pushed out. So she turned to the streets. And the streets will eat you up."
On her drug use, "Being from the streets, I’ve always been around things of that nature." He adds, "The streets kind of raised me. From that situation, I went from foster home to this person to that person. I got some structure probably around 10 when I moved to my great-aunt’s in the [Atlanta] suburbs and started going to school regularly." Apollo shares that he didn't start school until the third grade. He jumped a few grades in between and he did graduate high school.
Apollo also shared that he's been hustling and making money since he was pre-teen, making $500-600 a week mowing lawns at age eleven.
Apollo on trying out college in the Bahamas, "I was trying to study international marketing for about a year." He then explains how he wound up in the Bahamas to begin with. "I’m a master barber by trade. So my uncle used to cut my hair. You have this Caucasian guy trying to cut a stylish haircut for a Black kid. No skills, bless him. So when I got to my aunt, I wanted to go to this dance and he wasn’t there to cut my hair. I was 12. He was like, “You can do it.” I had mirrors. I cut my hair. And man, I liked it. So I just started cutting hair and got better and better. Then [after I started working as a barber], I wind up meeting a guy who became my mentor. His whole family was from Nassau. He also had a store in Nassau."
This man led him to real estate – staging houses. "He used to do estate sales. In a house that is like a gaudy house, we would dress the house. This is when I got into staging houses for real estate companies. So I decided to start working with him. I figured I could get into this marketing thing on an international level and that’s how I wound up in Nassau."
That didn't last too long and he wound up back in the states and joined in some illegal activities. "I started involving myself in illicit things. I was really infatuated with cars. So I met a couple guys that were into stolen cars. I came back (to the U.S.) because I realized that I could potentially send cars over there to Nassau, then send them on further. And what they do, they auction [the cars] off at the dock. So as long as you have the title, it’s going to check out, and then you’re going to pretty much get a check or a wire transfer. So if I could get the title, I could get full value for the car. And sometimes, if I could just do paperwork on the vehicle, I could still put it in the container and send it over there. So you’re going to put the car on the market and say, “Hey, let’s just take this Lexus. Give me $3,000.” That’s nothing for it. The Lexus is $60,000, $70,000."
When the interviewer asks who he's bringing these cars to, "It’s crews, pretty much. So you would start getting phone calls about, “Hey, there’s an LS 400, ’96 model, zero miles, da, da, da, da.” And then you would negotiate the buy. Those guys back then weren’t really smart about it. They would just have a connection in the tag office. But then the VIN number still registers stolen. So then they would just change the last four numbers of the VIN, just so it would go through the system. Back then those guys were not physically changing it. They were just changing it in the system just to get a tag."
Apollo wasn't worried about getting caught, "For me, I think it became kind of survival. At that point, when I got my first check—It was probably like $20,000, and I was like 16? I didn’t need anybody at that point—none of the older men." The interviewer asks how long he did this. "All the way up until I got busted in 2003. That’s seven years."
He served six years of an 18 year sentence. And the only reason he got caught is because the "right" agent looked at his I.D., otherwise he wouldn't have been caught that day. He gives the play by play of the day he was arrested – again, check out the magazine on Tuesday for the full story, it's worth it!
He also shared his first days in prison, missing his lavish lifestyle. "I mean, at 22 years old, I’m missing my massage, my manicures, pedicures; I’m missing my Posturepedic; I’m missing my trips; I’m missing my women. There are facets of life that you grow accustomed to. So not this steel bunk that hurts your a##. I just was like, “This is bulls#@t, man. Let me out.”
He talked a bit about dating Phaedra before he went to prison and her repping the guy who testified against him. She did resign from the case eventually.
Aside from bulking up, Apollo became a student of religion in prison. "I studied three religions when I was down: Buddhism, Islam and Christianity. I also led ministry when I was in there, like a congregation. You really have to dig deep. You have to figure out, “Hey, all your friends have left. What are you going to do when you come out? This girl ran off with your money. The other one ran off with your cars and money and your clothes.”
He claims he wasn't in contact with Phaedra during his prison years at all. "A lot of people thought she was there. No, she was never there."
Apollo and Phaedra reconnected after prison and she was engaged to another man, but they quickly reunited and got hitched! They started dating in June or July and got married in November. He says marrying so quickly after prison may not have been the best choice. "It might’ve been the wrong thing to do, considering all things. But for me it was structure. For her, she knew that she could trust me. I’ve always lived on my own. For me, I was like, “Okay, if I get married, then I can’t just run and be sneaking. I can’t go to L.A. and not come home. You have to report back to somebody.” But then along came baby #1. "So then when you drop the kid in the bucket, it’s even more. Now you definitely have to be accountable. So that’s what I was creating."
Does he feel Phaedra's in charge in their relationship, like it seems on the show? "Yeah. And right now, I continue to kick myself because hindsight is 20/20. For me, I had one goal when I came home, to get Apollo together. So yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever you’re talking about over here, I don’t care. So everything that you would say and do, even the TV show—there are things that should’ve been implemented that weren’t, like the first contract. We’re on the show together. The concept was convicted felon and the lawyer mesh. That’s the first instance of my and her existence. So I should’ve said, “What am I getting myself into here?”
He continued on about the show and their marriage and working hard to establish himself in business. "I opened up an office, incorporated a business called One Eleven. And I was getting a bad rap because everyone was like, “Oh, he’s a bum. He lives off of her.” But no one even knew me. It made me feel bad because I’m just like, “How do I put myself in a better light?” The first impression is that everlasting impression, pretty much."
On his legal issues – he maintained that he and Phaedra aren't going to jail. "No. What’s going on with me right now is a criminal complaint that I have to answer to. In due time, I’ll have my day in court. Criminal complaint is when the U.S. government, they feel like they have information about you that is worthy enough to bring you in on questioning. And at some point you have to answer their questions. The criminal complaint is bank fraud, wire fraud. That’s the allegations that they have against me. "
He's not worried, "I don’t really get nervous. And this is not just boasting or bragging." He says it is what it is, "You’ve got to hold on tight. At the end of the day, it’s like spilled milk. Hey, it’s spilled. It is what it is. I’ve had time to prepare. But we’re just waiting for it to all play out in court. I did turn myself in to authorities and they released me on a $25,000 bond."
Apollo is pretty sure Phaedra is nervous about how it'll harm her, "Phaedra—I’m sure she’s nervous because at the end of the day, 'I’m [Phaedra] putting my career in jeopardy, putting my connections, everything on the line dealing with you.'" He knows it's bad for himself and the network, too, "It’s bad for Bravo. It’s bad for me. I’m trying to project myself in a more positive light. I mean, hell, I just came from speaking to Vanderbilt and Tennessee State. You’re talking, like, 2,000-plus children, and trying to tell them 'Do the right thing.'"
What Phaedra thinks of him speaking out now, "Oh, she doesn’t like it, just like the network. But enough’s enough. At some point you get fed up with certain things and you feel like, “You know what? I do have an opinion.”
On his marriage surviving reality TV, "Well, I definitely love her. I’ve grown to love her more. At one point, I was her biggest fan. I really was. I really admired everything that she did as a woman. I think that we have lost sight of the true picture, which is that we did take an oath to God and we did build a family and a brand. Whatever has come of this reality fiasco, we have had two beautiful children, and at the end of the day, I only wish her the best. I can’t say if it’s going to last. But I hope that it does last, but there’s an issue with the “hope” and the “but” in a sentence. If something doesn’t change and we don’t start to cherish and respect one another, then I refuse to be miserable, hands down."
Hmmm, does that mean perhaps the rumors of their separation might be true?
I have to say that something doesn't add up with his time in the Bahamas. If he was 16 when made his first $20K on the stolen cars and that was AFTER he was in Nassau, he was supposedly in Nassau for college? Honestly, I'm confused on quite a few things in the interview – timelines not matching up, etc.
Apollo shared that within a few months he'll be able to talk to the media about the case.
I have to say it again, get the magazine. There was so much good stuff!
TELL US – DO YOU THINK APOLLO AND PHAEDRA ARE SEPARATED? WHAT'D YOU THINK OF THE INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS?
Photo Credit: Sister2Sister