Whether being charged with bank fraud, accused of cheating on his wife or dragged into a charity scandal, Apollo Nida has had a rough couple of months in the public eye. Now, the Real Housewives of Atlanta star is speaking out exclusively to RadarOnline.com to tell fans about what they don't see on TV -- namely, how he's triumphed over a challenging childhood filled with drug abuse and foster homes, and how he hopes others can learn from his very public mistakes.
"People want to hear the true side of me," Nida tells Radar. "I'm more than just what you see on TV and what's been tossed around in the media."
Indeed, before he was a reality star and member of Atlanta's social scene, Nida managed to triumph over dark childhood struggles that he's rarely discussed -- until now.
As a child, a family member "OD'd on heroin in front of me," Nida reveals. "I lived from place to place."
And as a young adult, he turned to a life of crime. In 2004, at the age of 26, he was arrested for federal racketeering laws related to auto title fraud and served five years in prison.
Now, facing still more fraud charges in a new case brought against him earlier this year, Phaedra Parks' husband says he wants to sure his story in the hopes of inspiring others to take a different path.
"Don't do as I do, but take my experiences and hope that it will give you a better platform," he says, noting, "I have very educating things to say, so that people can embark on something new."
Indeed, despite his legal troubles, Nida says life has never been better. "We have a lot of good stuff to talk about!" he says. "Everything doesn't have to be negative. "Right now, I'm working on a three-part project on a new fitness series to compete with P90x and Insanity. I'm about to launch the pre-natal video for pregnant women. I'm working on a distribution deal. Working on Phine Dining. It's a lot. We're doing monthly subscriptions to the site. I have a lot of positive things out there to talk about."