On the latest episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Dolores fought back at Jackie's claims that Dolores is not a good friend to Jennifer (who's struggling through the aftermath of Margaret Josephs exposing her husband, Bill Aydin's, decade-old affair) by pointing the finger back at Jackie. Dolores revealed to Jennifer that in the moments after Margaret made the reveal, Jackie told the group, "I feel worse for Jen than I feel for Bill. Don't cheat on your wife then. How about you don't stick your d**k into someone else? How about that?"
"I think that Dolores realized that she was sort of outed as a flip-flopper -- and I love Dolores -- but she was being very wishy washy," Jackie tells ET. "And I think that she got very-- she was looking for something to grab onto, to make me look like the bad guy, and she was pissed off. I mean, No. 1 to Dolores is loyalty. So when I questioned that, she was looking for something to get back at me with, so she twisted my comments."
"My comment was actually in defense of Jennifer," Jackie explains. "My comment was because I felt like Jennifer was shouldering all of the blame and all of the hurt for all of this and saying, 'Oh, Bill's such a great guy...' which he is, he's a great guy, but she was taking all the blame onto herself, and I felt like, why is she taking all the blame and taking all the responsibility when it's Bill who did something?"
"Perhaps I used a dirty word, sorry," she continues. "I mean, I love all of these people clutching their pearls now, they're calling it a vulgar term. From these women? From these women? Are you kidding?"
Jackie reiterates how Dolores played both sides here, telling Jennifer she was there for her and that what Margaret did was wrong; she then changed her tune to say Margaret was in the clear, after Margaret explained her point of view on the subject. This back and forth led to a near-physical altercation between Jackie and Dolores, when Jennifer confronted Dolores over Jackie's claims that Dolores wasn't the friend Jennifer believed her to be. Dolores told Jennifer any issues need to be between the two of them, and she shouldn't be hearing about it sideways from "this," as in Jackie.
"I'm a really calm person and I generally do not lose my temper ever," Jackie notes. "And you've seen through the years, I don't scream and curse. I'm not one of those hot heads, but when somebody disrespects me, like, I black out. Cameras melt away. I was just like, 'You are not going to disrespect me like that!' I don't like that. I didn't think that anything I said warranted being called 'this,' like, being belittled like that. And certainly not from one of my castmates."
"I'm not going to allow them to do that," she repeats. "So yeah, it was a very aggressive moment and I didn't know what would happen. I was 99 percent confident that Dolores wouldn't hit me or hurt me because A, we really are friends. I mean, we do butt heads, but B -- not to break the fourth wall -- but you're going to get kicked off the show, probably. So I kind of knew that she wasn't going to touch me, but either way, I wasn't scared at all."
"I think that her days of biting through the hands of people she's going to fight with are probably over," Jackie adds, referencing a story Dolores' ex-husband, Frank, shared of Dolores' bar-fight history.
Jackie's earned a bit of a reputation with the audience of being unafraid of her co-stars, but she confesses to a little bit of trepidation with some of the women.
"I never worry for a second that Dolores is going to physically attack me, and I mean, verbally, I don't think anyone can beat me," she says. "I worry about some of the other people because they just can play very dirty, and they can say things out loud on the air that can really damage your family, like what Teresa [Giudice] did last year. So that's why I worry about fighting with somebody who has no qualms about fighting dirty, really dirty."
In season 11, Teresa repeated a rumor about Jackie's husband, Evan, having an affair. The rumor proved to be just that, false, but damage was still done as Jackie had to defend her husband and navigate her family through the aftershocks of the ordeal. Teresa maintains that what she did is different (and maybe even better) than Margaret speaking out about Bill's affair, because it was just a rumor and not the truth. It's logic that's proved puzzling for Jackie.
"I mean, Teresa, I don't think she's a bad person, I just think that she tells herself what she wants to believe," Jackie muses. "She wants to believe-- especially now she's with Louie [Ruelas], who's all about like being reflective and being your best self -- and I think she knows she did something really bad last year and she doesn't want to appear to him like she's a bad person. So she's trying to validate what she did last year."
"I think that's her way of doing it," she adds. "It makes no sense to anybody. I'm not even sure it makes sense to her, but I don't care anymore. I really, when I let go of last year, I really let go of it. Evan and I know our truth. I mean, 90 percent of the world knows our truth. Of course, there's still going to be people no matter what who think that Evan has a girlfriend at the gym and great, I can't control the whole world. I had to let go of that. So, I mean, it doesn't even bother me anymore. So whatever she wants to believe, let her believe she knows what she did."
What she and her family experienced last year gave Jackie a bit of perspective in helping Jennifer see her way through the weeds of her own situation. While they joined the show at the same time, Jackie and Jennifer have never been particularly close, gravitating toward other cast members -- Jennifer is besties with Teresa, while Jackie is closest to Margaret.
"Last year, I felt very alone," she explains. "I didn't want Jennifer to feel like that, and really, I had no reason not to be a friend to her. If she went digging on my husband, that makes her a crappy person, not me. So there was nothing going on in my life telling me, 'Oh, stay away from her! She's dangerous for you!' I wasn't broken at all. I also don't like to see somebody struggling and I felt like she needed a friend. She really did. She really didn't have a friend at that point."
That "digging" Jackie references is connected to the Evan affair rumor. Along with the Bill affair reveal, Margaret also exposed Jennifer's attempt to corroborate the allegation against Evan by calling people around town for dirt. Jennifer says the inquiries were all relatively innocent, though, coming up in casual conversation.
"Jennifer really does horrible things sometimes," Jackie admits. "And I like her -- I'm not saying I don't like her, I do -- [but] the whole digging [thing] ... I want that to stop."
"It makes it really hard to get to a better place when you go so low," she continues. "It's not petty drama when you're digging for information on somebody that could really destroy their family. What were you going to do with that? If you found out something, what were you going to do with it? Were you going to just keep it in your pocket and keep it a secret? Of course not! That's not why you were digging. ... You were calling because you wanted to do something to destroy my family, but now you're crying about somebody doing that to you. So, it's just a lot of hypocrisy. So I think for us to truly get to a better place, this really underhanded stuff has to stop."
Jackie teases that viewers will see Jennifer take strides to better herself when it comes to how she operates in this circle of friends. Jennifer still seems to be piecing together the puzzle of Margaret's so-called betrayal, telling ET she's come to the conclusion that Margaret only learned of Bill's infidelity recently and pulled it out as a premeditated attack on her family. Jackie says Jennifer doesn't have the facts straight.
"Margaret's known this for a very long time," Jackie explains, sharing that the Macbeth Collection designer spilled the secret to her over two years ago. "I think that Jennifer just pushed and pushed and pushed until the point that Margaret had no choice."
Jackie says she replayed the tense exchange between Jennifer and Margaret from the season premiere, which led to the affair reveal, to come to her conclusion.
"I watched that conversation back, like, 10 times at the pool party and Jennifer should have known what was coming by Margaret's comments and she kept going with it anyway," she says. "If it were me, and I knew that my husband had cheated and I was in a conversation where somebody's going, 'You're not being honest. I know something. I'm going to say it...' I would've ended that conversation if I didn't want that to come out. I would've been like, 'You know what? I'm sorry for everything I've ever done for you...' and walked away. Wouldn't a logical person do that? She had to have known. I think it's pure cockiness that she didn't think that Margaret would reveal that."
With that said, however, Jackie teases that Jennifer and Margaret are able to find a path forward.
"Margaret likes to reconcile," Jackie says. "She doesn't want to have enemies. She doesn't want to fight with people. And the whole point of being on the show is to be able to get back to a better place after you have an argument. So I think that there is definitely hope for them."
Ironically, a stand-out moment from the season 12 trailer is Jackie remarking how people don't want to make enemies with Margaret. "She's like a spiritual medium," Jackie explains. "She knows everything about everybody. There's no secret that Margaret doesn't know because she speaks to everybody in the whole world. So if you do something to Margaret, she will have something in her pocket to come back at you with. Margaret just is not afraid. I'm not afraid of anyone either, but I also wouldn't open my mouth sometimes and say things that I know. Margaret, if you do her wrong, she'll go for the jugular."
It seems safe to assume that Margaret applies that energy to her bubbling issues with Teresa; the supertease for the season promises explosive moments between the pair over Teresa's belief that Margaret is leaking information to "the blogs" about her now-fiancé, Louie, all to make him look bad. The tension builds to a fiery exchange on the cast trip to Nashville, in which Teresa unloads the contents of a table -- food and drink included -- onto Margaret.
"I don't think physical violence is ever warranted," Jackie remarks. "And to be honest with you, I have a real problem with -- Teresa and I are obviously in a better place -- but I have a whole problem with this, 'Don't talk about the love of my life' thing, 'He didn't sign up for this...' I'm sorry. Clearly he signed up for it, OK?"
Jackie's calling out Teresa's oft-repeated refrain about Louie signing up for life with her, but not life with TV cameras. On last week's episode, Teresa briefly stopped filming when she felt as if focus was going to turn to "exposing" Louie. A cringeworthy video of him shirtless and pleading for an ex-girlfriend's forgiveness made the rounds on fan accounts near the start of filming season 12, instantly becoming a hot topic among the group -- but not one Teresa was interested in discussing.
"He signed up for it as much as my husband signed up for it," Jackie fires back. "So if you can go around talking about my husband last year, spreading rumors about my husband talking about what he's doing at the gym, talking about girlfriends he has, spreading these rumors all over the place when I have four little children and he's got parents watching and siblings watching and he's got the whole world watching, but nobody can utter a word about things that are actually on the internet about your boyfriend? Give me a break. It just annoys me. It really, really annoys me."
Jackie says she understands Teresa's initial reasoning for attempting to shut down talk of Louie's past ("Teresa didn't feel like he owed it to anybody to give an explanation," she recalls), but ultimately it turned into a bigger problem than if she had just let Louie address everyone's questions the first time the situation came up.
"Teresa thinks of herself-- and listen, I am not invalidating the fact that Teresa has been on this show for the longest. She is an OG. She has carried this show for many, many years," Jackie notes. "However, we are an ensemble cast. We all carry this show. We all give something. I think Teresa thinks that different rules apply to her and she has called herself -- in an interview this season -- she called herself 'the GOAT' [aka 'the Greatest of All Time'], and I think that she thinks that when you question her, nobody can question her. And when she doesn't want to answer something, it doesn't get answered. So I think that she thinks that she plays by a different set of rules than the rest of us."
Jackie teases to "wait and see" how that works out for Teresa in the end. "I mean, brace for next episode and brace for the trip to Nashville for sure," she quips.