Melissa Gorga’s views on marriage have changed. Like, “crazily changed,” according to her.
The 39-year-old Real Housewives of New Jersey star penned the relationship advice book Love Italian Style: The Secrets of My Hot and Happy Marriage back in 2013, which was all about how to treat your husband “like a king,” so he’ll “treat you like a queen.”
“Like, I can't believe it,” she now tells ET. “I'll probably go back and read the book and go, 'Yeah, no.' And that's a true fact. It's one of the things that, I'm being very honest, I struggle a lot with Joe over that.”
“I feel like a lot of people don't know that, and look at us like we are the perfect couple, but we do argue a lot,” she continues. “We argue a lot because I am such a working girl now. And he's truly very traditional and he's breaking into it slowly, but just me being here in L.A. for four days, you know, he's losing his mind. So it's like a very hard struggle.”
“I was so stuck in and being a traditional Italian girl, being stuck in like, 'No, that's what I want to do. I want to be a mom who cooks and cleans, and my husband will provide for me and that's what every lucky girl gets in life, and that's what I got,’” she recalls.
“I got an amazing husband, that dies over me, that chases me all round the house... pretty much live a beautiful life, have beautiful kids, like, everything I'm very thankful for, but I think as I am now, 39 years old, the Melissa Gorga that I was before I had babies is like… 'No, no, no, no.' I'm actually really a little beast in here and I gotta get back to what I know how to do. And I just feel like I'm growing into my own, and it's hard.”
Pursuing her passions (the show and her store) has turned out to be a double-edged sword for the TV personality, who cops to feeling immense “mom guilt” when she’s not tending to her family.
“I've always been a very hands-on mom and I always will be, but you have to kinda pass the workload on to other people a little bit if you wanna go and do what you're doing in life and that's been very hard for us, very hard,” Melissa shares.
“I'm telling you it's a struggle,” she adds. “It's real, and I know anyone else in this business that has a family and a marriage the way I do knows what I'm talking about, because it's a struggle.”
Melissa says fans of RHONJ will get to see those struggles play out on season nine of the show.
“We're having these conversations about ‘man vs. woman,'” she says. “Why is it, like, you work all day, too, but I'm also gonna come home and do the laundry and cook and clean -- and I know this sounds cliche and ridiculous, but this is a legit thing.”
“Like, I'm going to work, too,” she continues. “I need you to respect my work, even though I'm gonna be in glam for two hours. It's also part of my work. For him, it's a struggle to understand. He's like, ‘Your work is fun,’ and I'm like, 'I'm working’… Just because his work is in construction, it's not as fun, I would say, as my work. So we go back and forth on that and just the roles in the house.”
“You know, it's scary,” Melissa confesses. “I would be dead honest with this, and if he were sitting here, he would say the same… We are really battling it out right now.”
“I've been on the show for eight years,” she notes. “I was [always] like, ‘We're good, we got this. I don't know what everybody else’s problem is, all these Housewives are getting divorces’… and then I'm like, ‘Oh, I get this. OK, we're hitting a moment.’”
“We're fighting really hard and I think at the end of the day you really have to have the true love for one another because if you don't, you're not gonna get through this,” she shares. “[He] and I truly do love one another, and we're gonna fight for [our] love, our kids.”
“I do think it would shock people to know that things are not as easy as it seems in our house,” she says. “And we're fine talking about it, ‘cause it's reality… You face different types of struggles at different times in your life. If they would have asked me this three, four years ago, I would have been like, 'No, we're fine. We're good.' Now I'm like, 'No. It's this difficult.'”
“It's not a definite thing, I just want to look,” she cautions. “But we are definitely gonna be nosy and see if we catch the bug when we're ‘homeless.’”
Melissa says she and Joe would easily embrace the change, but concedes she’s not sure how her kids, Antonia, Gino and Joey, would react to leaving their lives in New Jersey behind. That would also mean leaving The Real Housewives of New Jersey behind.
“I wouldn't walk away from the show,” Melissa heeds. "I'm either gonna join [Real Housewives of] Beverly Hills -- which is my dream -- or, I mean, come on! We're just gonna [do] Goin’ With the Gorgas… to L.A. I think it's genius!”