RHONJ's Danielle Cabral Hits Back at 'Teresa Soldier' Label Amid Margaret Josephs & Jackie Goldschneider Drama
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Danielle Cabral is making one thing clear: she's nobody's "soldier" on The Real Housewives of New Jersey.
"That's so ridiculous," the RHONJ newbie scoffs, reacting to being labeled a "Teresa soldier" by some viewers who believe she's carrying out OG star Teresa Giudice's bidding on season 13 of the Bravo hit.
"Teresa is my girlfriend; I'm gonna say she looks great, I'm gonna pump her up," she says. "That's what girls do, of course. When you're labeled a 'soldier,' it drives me nuts. It drives me nuts because I went in with like, I want to be everybody's girl, everybody's friend. So, it's just such an easy label to smack on someone."
Danielle walked into a bit of a cast divided, which only worsened over the course of filming as Teresa and her sister-in-law, Melissa Gorga, seemingly fell out for good. By season's end, Danielle found herself on Teresa's side of the aisle, alongside Jennifer Aydin, while Melissa was on the other, joined by Margaret Josephs, Rachel Fuda and Jackie Goldschneider. Dolores Catania and Jenn Fessler seem to exist somewhere in between.
"You'll see as the season goes on, a lot of stuff is done, and I'm bobbing and weaving, trying to navigate everything," she says. "It stinks when you had some good times, and it's stinks when you're now reflecting like, oh, god! Can I call this person? I don't know. I want to, but I don't know... it's very tough."
"We're all lumped into the Teresa-Melissa situation, unfortunately, right?" she adds. "I think we're all trying to figure out what the best thing to do is, because everybody has their own individual relationships with everybody. Listen! Do [Teresa and Melissa] have to be in the same room? They're gonna be [for reunion]! So let's hope and pray to god that it's OK. I hope so."
Danielle finds herself smack dab in the middle of the mess after Jennifer lets it slip that Margaret's ex-friend, Laura -- whom she and Teresa took a meeting with -- repeated cheating rumors about Melissa that Margaret allegedly shared with her. Melissa's denied any infidelity, and Margaret's denied spreading any rumors. Margaret seems to believe Jennifer and Teresa met up with her former pal in order to build a revenge plot against her; Jennifer's said they simply took the meeting because Laura was persistent.
"The two of them really kind of just met up with her because I think she was talking about the show, and they just wanted to get together, and I don't think they were aware of all this stuff that was gonna be said," Danielle surmises. "They didn't go in with malicious intent, at least I I like to think so -- I hope not!"
"I don't think they were expecting to hear all the things they did," she adds, confessing that some of what got reported back -- like the Melissa cheating stuff -- made her uncomfortable. "It put me in a really tough spot, I will just say that. It was very tough to navigate how to handle that."
The circulating of those rumors behind Melissa's back seems to be the catalyst in a finale feud, which caused major fallout for Teresa's family and, apparently, the cast at large.
"Everybody's involved in it," Danielle promises. "I didn't expect it to be what it turns out to be. I went in thinking one thing, and then I came out like, what the hell just happened?!"
"I've been playing it out in my head since August," she says. "I've been playing these moments in my head, like, all over and over, and I I want to see it now on the show and see if I was right with how I was thinking."
Before that plays out, though, there's a lot more season and a lot more other drama to see. Danielle says Teresa and Jennifer's warning to her and Rachel about Margaret, that she's a better friend than an enemy, proves itself to be true in the coming weeks.
"It was a very unfortunate situation. You know the game telephone, when you call somebody and then it gets [misinterpreted]?" she teases. "That's kind of what happened."
"Margaret's tagline is what?" she asks. "A loyal friend and a lethal enemy. Now if you want to change the words around to, she is a better friend than an enemy, and you want to come for me for saying something that you said right out of your mouth? Then you are looking for beef. You are looking for trouble. You are looking to come for me. She literally says it in the opening edit of the show! Am I wrong there? She says it!"
"I am a loyal friend, but a lethal enemy," she repeats, imitating Margaret's delivery. "How is that different than just, 'Watch your back. She's a better friend than an enemy?' Facts."
When Margaret spoke with ET, she said Danielle "flipped on me like a pancake" and called her a "patsy," a pawn used in whatever game Teresa is supposedly playing.
"I don't flip on anybody," Danielle fires back. "You do me wrong and then I got a problem with you. But if you don't do me wrong, why should I come for you? There's no reason."
"Being labeled the bad guy here? I'm not going to lie down and take that," she says. "I'm not going to take it, because that was not the case."
Beyond Margaret, Danielle found herself at odds with Jackie, who, up until this season, had always been a full-time Housewife. She stepped back into a "friend of" role this year, which may have caused some subconscious tension in how she operated within the group. Some jabs she took at Danielle's style (including a remark about Danielle dressing straight out of a hamper) quickly became fighting words.
"We hit it off great in the beginning, when I first met her, you know?" Danielle recalls. "Then, I saw the judginess and I was like, oh... I thought, well, maybe this is the type of person she is? I never thought, 'Well, I'm coming for her spot...' We were all promised that spot. It was a spot for everybody's taking. It just didn't work out like that for her, and I'm sorry, but three new people came on the cast this year. Not just me. So, Rachel and Jenn could have also taken her spot. Not just me."
"I don't know what she is saying, I don't really pay attention to anything she does," she continues, "but if she's saying, 'I'm sorry, I came for Danielle 'cause she took my spot...' There was three of us. So they took it just as much as I-- we didn't take it! There's no taking. It just didn't go her way."
Danielle's made it a pattern now of confronting Jackie over her comments when she hears her name brought up in conversations in which she's not exactly involved.
"I don't come from a place of, we just let people talk like that," she explains. "It's a weird feeling to be there and hear people talking about you, but like in a corner with a group. It's not a comfortable thing, and these are not people that I don't know. These are my friends, so it's like, what? What are you saying something about me? Like, say it to me, right?"
"If I got a problem with you, I am going to say it to your face," she adds.
The latest installment in this saga is Jackie discussing Danielle's family issues with some of the other women. Before joining the show, Danielle fell out with her brother. As far as she knows, he stopped talking to her after she blocked him on Instagram, because he was making fun of her influencer career. Some of her castmates, as well as some viewers, don't buy her story, insisting there must be more to it than a little social media squabble.
"I don't believe it myself," she admits. "I say it every day. I'm like, everybody, you're right! Fans, you're right. Cast members, friends? You're right! I question it, too. It's a wild thing."
"Everybody has a right to think that, because otherwise you'd be crazy to think that a brother and sister could end a relationship on Instagram," she says. "It's not normal. And for me, it's something that's painful. It hurts."
Danielle wishes her brother would just tell her what his issues are with her, because she "wants to make it better." The constant questioning about it, when she has no answers to give, is only making the whole ordeal more hurtful. She hasn't heard from her brother, even by way of a family member or a mutual friend, as the story's played out on TV.
"I'm sure he's aware," she says. "I'm sure all of our our childhood friends have told him, have watched for him. ... If he did watch it, he would say, 'Wow, OK. My sister's hurt...' and take that and say, 'Well, maybe this is wild that our relationship ended. Maybe this is wild, my sister's never met my daughter.'"
The only other incident Danielle's been able to point to as a possible reason for their familial issues is, maybe she inserted herself too much into her brother's wedding planning process.
"I think about that all the time," she laments. "I always came from a place of excitement. ... If there was ever a conversation where I made [my sister-in-law] feel uncomfortable, and she went back and told him, said something to him? Oh my god! I'm so sorry, that was never my intention."
Danielle's story has echoes of Teresa's life, given her strained history with her brother, Joe Gorga. Danielle suspects her sister-in-law is the main reason for her own issues, and Teresa's long blamed Melissa for the tension between her and Joe, though she did admit ahead of season 13 that the blame is now shared between Joe and Melissa. Still, she maintains she felt blindsided by the two joining Housewives back in season 3. So, could history repeat itself for Danielle, with her own sister-in-law potentially joining next season?
"Honestly, that'd make the best freakin' TV ever if they got that reconciliation!" she cracks. "But that's, like, never gonna happen. My brother's wife wants nothing to do with anything, like, she wouldn't even come and do little Instagram review videos that I would want to do ... this is not her world, and that, I don't think that would ever happen in a million years."
However, Danielle's immediate family is not camera-shy. She dubbed her husband, Nate, an "Adonis" upon his on-screen debut.
"Oh, I couldn't be more proud of him -- and he loved it!" Danielle gushes. "We were walking around, we had a town St. Patrick's Day parade, and people were screaming, 'There's the Adonis!' And he's just such a good guy, he loves it, loves the attention. I have nothing to be worried about. So, for me, I want the whole world to see him and love him. I want to share with the world."
Danielle and Nate's kids, Dominic and Valentina, are also enjoying their ride on the Housewives roller coaster. The two serve as the inspiration behind Danielle's online clothing boutique, Boujie Kidz, some behind the scenes of which Danielle hopes makes it on air before the season ends. The Cabral kiddos are only allowed to watch the scenes in which they appear, which proved slightly scary when Valentina's birthday party aired and some phallic straws popped up in a b-roll shot.
"Yeah... I'm gonna say that was, like, a fun editing thing," Danielle muses. "That really wasn't our kid's party. I'll take the heat for it though, but yeah. ... I wouldn't have a penis straw at that party. I've had him, but not at the fifth birthday party!"
The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo.
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