'RHONJ': Margaret Josephs Hits Back at Jennifer Aydin and Teresa Giudice After 'Weirdo' Meeting With Ex-Friend
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Margaret Josephs is still processing the "weirdo stuff" her The Real Housewives of New Jersey castmates pulled out while filming season 13.
"It's really upsetting to me, because -- and I am going to say this, I've said a thousand times --- I make up with someone, I feel it's genuine, and I am with people who just aren't that way," the longtime Bravo-leb confesses to ET over video chat, referencing her on-again, off-again issues with Jennifer Aydin. Ahead of filming season 13, Jennifer and Teresa Giudice took a meeting with a former friend of Margaret's, Laura, who offered "dirt" on the Macbeth Collection designer -- and some other cast members, including a cheating rumor about Melissa Gorga that Laura apparently alleged came straight from Margaret.
"I'm constantly shocked and surprised," she adds. "[Jennifer] meeting with my friend behind my back, I knew about it. I knew about it before last reunion. She came into my dressing room to apologize about it. We had discussed it there, so why would I think, seven months later, this nonsense is still going on?"
Per Margaret's timeline (she says she has receipts to prove it), Jennifer and Teresa met with Laura ahead of filming the season 12 reunion in March of last year. She believes the two planned to bring up Laura's claims at that taping, but ultimately chickened out and, according to Margaret, even apologized for taking the meeting.
"Jennifer was trying to bring it up, there was no context to it," she recalls. "Melissa says, 'I know everything already.' We knew everything. Jennifer comes to my dressing room, I was disgusted with it. She was like, 'You know, I'm sorry...' and, 'This girl doesn't even like me. I don't know why I did it...' You know this whole crocodile tear nonsense."
"I was ready to move on with Jennifer," she says. "I felt like I used to think she had a really good heart, and that we didn't see eye to eye on things, but obviously I was wrong. So, this year I was just like, 'What is going on here?' I obviously misread people."
For them to circle back on what Laura said when cameras went up on season 13 feels confusing for the reality star.
"That's what I find really shocking, you know?" Margaret remarks. "I wasn't mad at her anymore about it. I was like, alright, she apologized. That part was over, but then to bring it up and ... drag stuff out? It's weirdo stuff to me. It's really weird. I don't operate like that."
When ET spoke with Jen last week, she said she took the meeting because she believed Laura wanted the truth out there about Margaret. Margaret says Laura is spreading lies and seeking revenge.
"I am going to give you the CliffsNotes," Margaret cracks. "I know Laura since I am a little girl, since I am 12 -- so I would call that 'little Marge' -- were very good friends growing up. We were separated for many years. We did get back together prior to me going on the show [in 2017]. Our husbands were friends, I took her in with open arms. I really did love her. She saw everything that I had. ... I helped her with plastic surgeons, hairdressers, you know? Everything, elevated her and her and her life, which can happen when you get on Housewives. I'm very blessed with an amazing surrounding. I got her two [casting] interviews, two years in a row. I helped her tremendously. I pushed for her. I desperately wanted her on there. If she couldn't come as a Housewife, then a friend. It did not happen."
That's when, Margaret claims, things took a turn for her and Laura, with their friendship devolving into a petty feud in late 2021, as Laura seemingly blamed Margaret for not landing her a spot on the show.
"Then 2022, the beginning of, I caught wind out of Jennifer's camp, someone who she thinks she's close to -- she's not -- called up and said, 'You know your creepy friend is friending Jennifer and Teresa, coming over here and trying to talk about you, trying to get on the show?'" Margaret shares. "'She can't get on the show through you. She's trying to get on the show through them. Talking lies and drama about you, about Melissa, saying Jackie [Goldschenider's] jealous of...' all this nonsense. I immediately called Melissa. I called Dolores [Catania]. I called Jackie. I immediately said, 'We have some craziness going on, and Teresa and Jennifer are doing this...' I have the dates. I have it all. I texted Laura, I texted her husband ... anybody I introduced her to, I texted them with her on the chain just to say, 'She's interfering in my career.'"
"Teresa had no problem, calling up and getting her another interview by the way," Margaret goes on to claim. "Knowing the rumor she was spreading, Teresa called her up to get her another interview, and P.S., she couldn't get her on the show! So obviously, if there was no motive of getting on the show, why did you want another interview? So clearly this was show-motivated, and that was it."
Margaret pokes holes in Jennifer's theory that Laura simply wanted some "truth" exposed by saying, if that were the case, why not reach out to Melissa? "She was out for blood for the Marge," she declares.
"Why wouldn't she reach out to Melissa if she is saying I said this about Melissa, and I am such a horrible person?" Margaret questions. "Why reach out to the two people who hate me and Melissa the most? I mean, I think that's quite obvious. You wanted to get on the show. You could have reached out to Melissa. You set next to her numerous times in the hair salon."
"You had every opportunity to say something to Melissa, you didn't," she continues, "and until you and I had a falling out -- which, her big thing with me is I disinvited her to Christmas, that's only she think she could say -- is you decide to go to the people who hate us the most? It was about getting on the show. It was about causing drama. You thought you'd insert yourself that way, and that's the real truth."
"If you really are trying to expose the truth, you wouldn't try and be getting on the show," she reiterates. "Why would you try and take a third interview and go to the two people who hate me the most? Why wouldn't you call Jackie? Why wouldn't you call Melissa, and things like that? Why go to the press? Why do all these things? I find that, I mean... I think it's very obvious to everybody who really knows."
Laura's given a series of interviews to various outlets claiming she had no intention of ever sharing the Melissa cheating rumors with Teresa and Jennifer. She's also claimed that the drama over show casting had nothing to do with their friendship dissolving. Margaret says she hasn't heard a word from her former friend throughout this whole ordeal, even after adding her to those warning shot text chains Margaret sent.
"She's a coward and wouldn't answer the phone, wouldn't answer back," Margaret shares. "Her husband answered me back. Her husband."
Part of Jennifer's defense of taking the meeting is, she believes Margaret would do the same to her.
"Everything they have accused me of, they actually do," she fires back. "This is what I was accused of last year, meeting with [Teresa's now-husband, Louie Ruleas'] exes, when everything was already out there on the internet. There's no proof or anything like that."
"The woman [Jennifer] can't help herself and it just shows her character," Margaret adds, "and I just want to point out one other thing; she was so concerned about her children last year. 'You hurt my family, you did this...' which was sad. Everybody there's collateral damage, I apologized, genuinely, for everything, but that was based in fact, OK?"
Season 12 largely centered around Margaret exposing a years-old affair Jennifer's husband, Dr. Bill Aydin, had early on in their marriage. It's something Jennifer and Bill had glossed over, never really dealing with the aftershocks of his infidelity until they were forced to, on camera.
"This wasn't made up," Margaret doubles down. "She had no problem coming this year, hearing it from someone who is trying to get on the show and hurting Melissa's family and her children? That's not hypocritical? That's not a problem? So, you'll do it again to someone the following year and it's not even based in fact?"
Jennifer owned up to Melissa becoming "collateral damage" in her attempt to "expose" Margaret, who claims the larger group was unaware that the cheating rumors were even circulating until it all blew up.
"We have no idea that they were doing this," she laments. "It was a secret takedown."
This week, viewers will see Jennifer share other details from her meeting with Laura, with Melissa, including claims Margaret "encourages" Melissa to leave her husband, Joe Gorga.
"Oh yes, yes, yes! That's my favorite part," Margaret laughs. "I encourage people to get divorced? No, I don't. You know what it is? I build my friends up. I always say, You're amazing, you're strong...' you know, I say those things, and the funny part is, everybody would always compare Melissa to [Jennifer Lopez], and I said, 'If J.Lo could be with A-Rod, you could be with anybody!' And what do I always say, you know who I would be with? A 90-year-old guy with one foot on the banana peel. A billionaire. Who doesn't say these things in fun?"
"Laura obviously took an ounce of truth, heard me say that -- of course, was Laura out with us a lot of times? I brought Laura into a world of my friends and access --and that's said in jest, of course, and I mean nothing negative about that; I would build up anybody, to say some fun things like that," she adds. "If I was around Jennifer when Bill was cheating on her, I would have built her up, too. And now, I'm going to build Bill up, because he doesn't need that headache."
Jennifer described the things Laura shared as being pulled from Margaret's "arsenal" of information she keeps on everyone in the cast, skeletons to pull out of the closet when it's convenient.
"I have an arsenal," Margaret laughs, making gun-shot noises. "I think that's very funny. She thinks I have an arsenal to break things out? There's nothing to break out."
"I don't have to collect information on anybody, that's not the way I operate," Margaret adds. "I say things when they happen, I've never held anything-- Jennifer is so upset still about what everybody knew about Bill, which is unfortunate. We all knew it before, people; everyone's not admitting it, but it's common knowledge. She can think what she wants. Everybody knew."
As for co-stars' claims that Margaret throws bombs at others to deflect from her own issues, or to create a story for herself, Margaret brushes it all off.
"It's pretty funny," she says. "I've spoken about my relationship with my children; I've spoken about my relationship, you've watched me write a book. I've spoken about my relationship with my mother, my business, issues with my lawsuit. I mean, how many things?"
"I've done so much on this show," she continues, "and I've driven forward so many things on this show. So to say that I have no storyline is absolutely ridiculous. No one would have a story line without me! That's what I have to say. ... So, I don't want to hear that stuff, that I have no story line. I have a very full and happy life. Just right now my life is not a train-wreck."
And Margaret makes it clear, anything she shares on camera is based in fact and can be backed up with "receipts."
"I've never spread a rumor," she declares, "and there's one thing about Jennifer and Teresa: I've never seen a receipt from them."
Margaret says she's equally upset by Teresa's involvement in the situation, with whom she made up with early on in season 13 after their own issues in season 12. The two are back on the outs as of late, after Teresa slammed Margaret for leaving her wedding to Louie early "in support" of Melissa, who skipped the festivities following a blow-up fight at their finale taping.
"I just didn't feel comfortable dancing the night away," Margaret notes. "It was a bittersweet moment, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that, and then Teresa saying, well, I shouldn't have come? Well, why'd you cash my check within 24 hours?"
"I thought we had a genuine makeup, I really wanted her and Melissa to make up," she says. "I had no idea of this scheming going on until I'm watching back of what's been going on. I tried to get them back together. I wanted to support their marriage. I wanted to show that I respect their union, you know? I was happy to be there to celebrate them but, with that being said ... I was heartbroken you know for Joe and Melissa. It was very sad and upsetting."
Margaret teases a "very big twist ending" that fans don't yet know about in the Teresa vs. Joe and Melissa saga.
"When they see that, they'll understand why Melissa and Joe didn't go," she promises. As for where the group goes from here, Margaret says it all hinges on reunion, set to tape later this year.
"I have seen, Teresa apologizes and it's not genuine," she says. "She's done it to me; I just saw her on camera say, the only reason she made up with me is because of this reason or that reason. Melissa has genuinely tried. I don't know if anything comes from the heart when it comes to Teresa anymore, so I don't know."
"I'm not a game player," Margaret adds. "What you see is what you get. I'm going to say it right to your face. If I make up with you, I make up with you. I want to move forward. I want to have a relationship. I want to repair things, you know? These girls think they're playing chess; well, guess what? You're never going to be one step ahead of me."
The cast seems fairly divided, with Margaret, Melissa, Jackie and newcomers Rachel Fuda and Jenn Fessler on one side, Teresa, Jennifer and Danielle Cabral on the other. Dolores floats between the two camps.
"I feel sad a little bit about Danielle, because she came on, I was very open, gracious with her; she's a young woman, I got a kick out of her," Margaret shares. "I wanted to help her with her business, I gave her some solid advice. I worked on her logo for her. I really wanted good things for her. She flipped on me like a pancake in two seconds, for no reason, hearsay. It's unfortunate. I think she's great for the show; I think she's funny. I think when she sees everything play out and realizes that she's being used as a patsy, I hope she can see through it."
The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo.
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