Julia Haart on Overcoming Suicidal Thoughts, Her Divorce and 'Ludicrous' Legal Allegations (Exclusive)

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Julia Haart is opening up about opening up about her sex life, her divorce and the trials and tribulations she's faced since stepping away from Orthodox Judaism. ET's Lauren Zima spoke to Haart ahead of the release of her new book, Brazen: My Unorthodox Journey from Long Sleeves to Lingerie, where she spilled all the tea.

"In my world, I remember reading all of these books about like, Tzedakahs, which are a righteous woman that you’re supposed to aspire to be, and I remember thinking in all of these books, other than being silent, suffering in silence, all of that kind of stuff, the other thing that bothered me is everyone was perfect. They didn't make mistakes. From the day they were born, they were just holy beings, and they did everything right. That's not life. Life is messy. Life is confusing and frightening and terrifying, and can be disastrous so," Haart said of the motivation behind her inspiring memoir. "I realized that the point of this book is for people to look at my story and say, if this ignorant, uneducated, clueless woman who walked out of the 18th century into a world where nobody knew her, where she had nothing and she was a nobody, if she can do it, then I can do it."

"That's the goal of the book, to help people tell write their own story -- meaning actually like, go with their gut, do what they've wanted to do for so long," she continued. "I mean, actually I've had women come over to me at parties saying they’ve left abusive relationships because they saw the show."

But being vulnerable, both in her book and on her Netflix series, My Unorthodox Life, wasn't always easy for Haart. The entrepreneur told ET that it was particularly difficult to discuss the suicidal thoughts she experienced after parting ways with her orthodox faith.

"I think talking about my suicide and talking about being so destroyed that I wanted to kill myself, that's really difficult to talk about in detail," Haart shared. 

She described the feeling of having no way out after she left the tight-knit community she was a part of and stepped out into a 21st century world.

"When I walked out that door, that means walking out on everyone that you know, because you know they will never speak to you again. Your family will never speak to you again. It means you've been brought up -- many of the beautiful things in my old world is community. When my brother was killed when he was 5 years old, the whole community came and took care of my family. People mopped the floors, people cooked food, I mean there's such a strong community feeling, and you miss that," she explained. "[It's] difficult to go from a cohesive, close, everyone takes care of each other community, to being so alone that no one's ever heard of you, you have no history, you have no past, you don’t know a single soul, and you have to pretend that you know what you’re doing when you’re completely clueless."

Haart continued, "So, I had to walk outside and pretend to be a 21st century woman, when I actually had time-traveled through a wormhole and was an 18th century woman pretending to know what the hell was going on."

Not only did Haart leave the community, she swung in the opposite direction, working in the world of fashion and lingerie.

"So, to me, choosing what to put on my body, it is free, right? Because my whole life, I was taught that my body was something shameful that had to be hidden, that could cause sin," the reality TV star shared. "I think two weeks before I left my community, Hurricane Sandy was going on, and there were leaflets and papers all over Muncy saying that Hurricane Sandy happened because women's wigs were too long, and so they were still attracting male attention, so all the destruction of Hurricane Sandy was on me. You're taught that over and over again that your body is shameful."

"And so, when I walked out that door, to me, literally choosing to show my curves, be feminine enjoy my body, that's freedom," Haart added. "That is freedom, and I think for women -- we need our armor, they're not giving it to us easy. So, to me, feeling feminine makes me feel strong, and I think that true feminism is not pretending to be a guy, or trying to dress like a guy or speak like a guy. It's saying 'I am a woman. I have curves. I have empathy, I have kindness, and I am still strong and you will still respect me.'"

Haart shares four children, Batsheva, Shlomo, Miriam, and Aron, with her ex, Yosef Hender, who she was married to while she was part of the Orthodox faith -- and the exes have remained friendly, with Haart revealing that she shared a copy of her book with Hendler's new wife.

"I gave the book to my ex-husband's new wife, because I thought it would be too awkward for my ex-husband to read about my sexual escapades. I mean he's a really good man, but that's just asking too much," she admitted.  "So, I had her read it just so he would feel comfortable with everything that I'm saying, and you see in the book that I am very careful to say, 'This is not on him. This is what he was taught that he has to do and if he did not do it, his soul would suffer, my soul would suffer, our children’s souls would suffer.' So, she read it and Miriam and Shlomo have both read it and loved it."

Hendler has been supportive of Haart, particularly as she navigates her divorce from Silvio Scaglia, who she married in 2019.

"It's obviously not the way it was planned, but I learned in my life that every time I think to myself, 'OK Julia, you're strong, you've proven yourself,' I feel like something comes along and says, 'No, you're not done yet. You have a ways to go, you still think men know more than you, you still are seeking their approval.' I'm still a work in progress. I look at that title, Brazen, and I realize it's who I want to be, I'm not there yet."

While there have been allegations made against the La Perla creative director, calling her "phony" or "difficult to work for," she's also faced some legal allegations to from Scaglia, who claimed in court docs that she "abused" her role as CEO of their shared company, Elite World Group, and used company funds for personal purchases before he fired her

"It's ridiculous," Haart said of the allegations. "Honestly, what I can say, is these are genuinely ludicrous allegations. I've never taken a penny that doesn't belong to me, and the beauty of knowing the truth is you know the truth, and to me, it's just another battle that I have to face to fight for my freedom."

"Obviously, I can’t get into the details," she continued. "All I can say is, I've prevailed so far. I will continue to fight until I prevail, and hopefully there's purpose in all this suffering. Hopefully, I become stronger and independent, and I realize that I don't need men. That would be nice, to make that realization. I'm not there yet, I got to get there."

Haart's book, Brazen: My Unorthodox Journey from Long Sleeves to Lingerie, is out now.


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