'RHONJ's Rachel Fuda on Feeling 'Betrayed' by Jenn Fessler in Season 14 Feud With Teresa Giudice (Exclusive)

'The Real Housewives of New Jersey' star Rachel Fuda says she's mourning the loss of one of her closest friendships in the cast.

Rachel Fuda thought she'd found her footing within the group on The Real Housewives of New Jersey in her first season. Her second proved her wrong.

"I definitely feel betrayed," Rachel tells ET, speaking specifically about her friendship with fellow season 13 newbie Jenn Fessler

"We don't have a friendship anymore," she reveals, explaining that Jenn exploring a friendship with Teresa Giudice became their breaking point. According to Rachel, Jenn was adamant she wanted nothing to do with Teresa or her husband, Louie Ruelas, after the events of season 13 and its explosive reunion, which saw half the cast confront Louie over claims he hired a private investigator to dig up dirt to use against them. Louie denied doing this, but the group -- which included Rachel and her husband, John, as well as Margaret Josephs and Melissa Gorga -- stood firm in their conviction. 

"Her words and actions are not the same," Rachel says of Jenn. "Say what you mean and mean what you say. If you don't want to be around these people, then don't be around them. But if you truly, genuinely like her and you want to be around her? That is fine with me, and ... [if] that is what she was saying to me, but it wasn't."

On last Sunday's episode, viewers watched Jenn share a one-on-one moment with Teresa, to dig into Teresa bringing up John's past. In the premiere, Teresa dubbed John "the biggest drug dealer in Bergen County," a reference to his arrests (from more than a decade ago) for possession of illegal substances. Teresa clarified with Jenn that she didn't mean currently, and that she's "not judging him."

"Teresa is a good person," Jenn declared in a confessional intercut with their conversation. "I enjoy her. Maybe that makes me disloyal, but can't help it! I do, I like her. Sorry!"

"I don't really let people in," Rachel reflects. "I am a very-- I am not cold, but I am very particular about who I let into my life, and I really let Jenn in. She was at my house on holidays. She spent time around my kids. We were very, very close, like, on the phone four times a day. I was talking to Jenn more than I was talking to my own family."

'The Real Housewives of New Jersey's Jenn Fessler and Rachel Fuda pose backstage at 'Watch What Happens Live.' - Charles Sykes / Bravo via Getty Images

"A part of me is sad about it, and the other part of me is good, like I'm good," she adds of cutting ties with Jenn. "My No. 1 priority is my family, my husband and my kids, and as long as I have that, I have everything. I don't need anyone or anything. That is all that I need in my life, and I'm trucking on." 

This season tested Rachel's family, though, as John became intricately involved in the drama -- and Rachel defends her husband from viewers who say he's feeling himself a little too much and acting like the show's eighth Housewife.

"He was put in a position where he was on the receiving end of something, and he is not going to back down," she says. "He's gonna defend himself, and maybe Bravo should write him a paycheck."

After Teresa brought up drugs and John's alleged proclivity for using specialty sex toys in the premiere, John released a statement asking to not be judged by his past. Teresa was quick to call him a hypocrite, as he brings up her past legal troubles this season, but Rachel hits back, saying Teresa's the ultimate hypocrite here. She took the first shot at John. 

"John has made mistakes in his life; there is no denying that," Rachel says. "He is 37. We are talking about events that took place when he was a kid."

"Are people not allowed to change?" she asks. "I mean, coming from Teresa, who has gone to prison and done his time and should have learned her lesson, for her to be so hypocritical and use someone else's past from when they were a juvenile against them, 20-plus years later, is so wild to me."

"We are on the receiving end of this," Rachel reiterates. "They hired private investigators, they're bringing up John's past. We, now, are in a position to defend ourselves. Do you think that John's gonna walk into a room and be like, 'You're the poster child for mortgage fraud?' No! Why would he just say that?"

'The Real Housewives of New Jersey's John and Rachel Fuda attend the 39th Annual Artios Awards in New York City. - Dominik Bindl / Getty Images

When Jenn and Teresa sat down to clean their slate, they also discussed the events of the season 13 reunion. Teresa believes the cast attempted a takedown of her and Louie at the taping, citing an off-camera meeting held at Margaret's house. She claims someone overheard Jenn say something along the lines of, "You didn't execute the plan correctly" after shooting the sit-down with Andy Cohen last year. Jenn clarified that she didn't say that, but did point out to some of the cast -- including John -- that they waved around manila envelopes, supposedly full of receipts about Louie, but never revealed their contents. Teresa's since suggested the envelopes were just props used as scare tactics, with no real substance inside. 

"If there is one thing that you guys need to know about John Fuda, it's that he did not BS," Rachel fires back. "He would never show up with a meaningless envelope to slap around at reunion empty, ever. It wouldn't happen. So, you can use your imagination what it was, but it is in the hands of Bravo to show what was in that envelope, and that is what I will say about that."

"Let me just jog your memory that there was a private investigator hired to investigate all of us," she notes. "With that information, we would be stupid to not have a meeting of the minds before. So, it was not a 'takedown.' Louie can take himself down. He doesn't need us to do that for him. He does a great job on his own, and we were a group of friends getting together to go into war. What is wrong with that?"

Rachel views Teresa's behavior in season 14 as calculated, an attempt to retaliate against her and her friends in the ensemble for the reunion. She points to the social media drama currently unfolding, with one fan account exposing alleged communication with Teresa and Jennifer Aydin, all of which appears to show the women asking to push certain narratives online -- including mentions of John's past -- in order to have something to bring up on camera. Teresa's denied any involvement in the supposed plot, while Jennifer's yet to speak out publicly about it.

Teresa Giudice and Jennifer Aydin appear on stage together at BravoCon 2023 in Las Vegas. - Chelsea Guglielmino / Bravo via Getty Images

"Teresa can deny, deny, deny, until she dies, but at some point you have to put down the magnifying glass and pick up the mirror and that time has come: You are the problem, my dear," Rachel offers. "She's so big on 'the proof, the proof, the proof.' Well, it's all over. I don't know... it's your name, it's your phone number, it's your text messages and Jen, too. I mean Jen, like, Jen crawled in a hole. What happened to her?"

"It's disheartening and it's disappointing," Rachel says. "It's so heinous and toxic."

When Teresa sat down with ET to discuss season 14, she claimed everything she's being accused of would be exposed to be the work of Margaret. 

"Why does she think that Margaret is the antichrist?" Rachel asks. "I don't understand. I don't understand. We all have faults. No one's perfect, but, like, what did this woman do? I don't understand. It's like, global warming? Margaret's fault! What else can we blame on this woman? I don't understand. I actually don't get it. Like, what crazy piece of information are we going to receive in the Housewives puzzle that is going to change everything? And if it does, it does. I happen to believe that she is incorrect, but we'll see."

Teresa also told ET she came out of the season "victorious." Rachel calls her "delusional."

"I don't know what she is talking about," Rachel says. "I mean, Teresa's behavior is copy and paste in what she does each season. So, this is no different, right? This is just copy and paste on a different couple."

Rachel points to Teresa's longtime feud with her own brother, Joe Gorga and his wife, Melissa, and her season 10 falling out with Jackie Goldschneider over repeating a cheating rumor about Jackie's husband, Evan, as proof of a pattern. She's blamed Margaret for a lot of it.

The cast of 'The Real Housewives of New Jersey,' as seen on the poster for season 14. - Bravo Media

"I hope that we can move away from this level of toxicity, because I would not subject anyone to this," Rachel says. "It's very trying, and I think that Bravo sees it all and, hopefully, there will be a shakeup [for season 15]. I mean, we need it."

Before then, though, there's a lot of season 14 to watch. It's all leading up to a glass-breaking all-cast meeting at the RHONJ-famous Rails Steakhouse, teased at the top of the season premiere. When asked who's most to blame for what went down that day, Rachel lets out a sigh.

"I don't even know where to begin," she laments. "It's not my side of the couch, but it's not just one person to blame. It's not. It's a group effort."

A group effort that includes Rachel going in on Teresa, telling her to keep her "fat f**king hot dog-lipped mouth" shut.

"You know what happened? I had a hot dog for lunch," she shares. "And then I sat down at the table like, 'Oh, I'm in the mood for an espresso martini,' and I just started throwing 'em back and I'm like, oops!"

"I mean, you were all thinking it," she quips. "I just said it." 

The cast also went into that moment with new lines drawn, as Jackie pulled away from Margaret and built a friendship with Teresa and Jennifer. Margaret and Melissa have said it was a strategic move by Jackie to secure more screen time; last year, she moved into a "friend of" role after four seasons as a full-time 'Wife. Jackie's rebuffed that explanation, and instead said it all happened organically.

Teresa Giudice and Rachel Fuda film 'The Real Housewives of New Jersey' alongside Jenn Fessler and Jackie Goldschneider. - Ralph Bavaro / Bravo via Getty Images

"The natural progression? Are we serious?" Rachel scoffs. "Jackie is one of the smartest people in this group of women. She's a smart girl. Please, tell me what her and Teresa are talking about in conversation. Could you, please? What do we have in common here? What is happening? It is so apparent what this is, that ... having to explain it's, like, a joke."

"Like, after what she did to her and Evan? Come on," she continues, going on to clap back at Jackie's recent comparison of the show to The Hunger Games, a comment she made while subtly blaming Margaret, Melissa and Rachel for the cast divide on Two Ts in a Pod

"No. 1, she stole that saying from Jenn Fessler, so get your own material," Rachel snaps. "[And] for her to point fingers? No one cares who you're pointing at, anyway."

On the flipside, Danielle Cabral swaps alliances the other way this season, moving away from Teresa and Jennifer and closer to the other ladies. Rachel's looking forward to viewers seeing that play out, along with her personal story away from the group. 

"I'm looking forward to viewers seeing my daughter's journey with her speech and physical therapy," she previews. "We really take like a deep dive into that, and there's so many people that have reached out to me just [from] the one sentence that I mentioned it in the premiere. I've had endless amounts of therapists and people that are empathizing and sharing their stories with me, and being able to relate to our viewers is so nice."

"Also, sharing my personal story with arthritis," she continues. "I was diagnosed at four, and I think that's a huge component of my life that we haven't even scraped the surface on. It's greatly impacted me, forever. So, I'm excited for viewers to get to see a deeper side of me. There is a lot more than meets the surface. I'm a lot more than a Housewife from Franklin Lakes."

Rachel shocked viewers and castmates alike when she revealed she underwent a double-hip replacement as a teen.

"It's interesting to me how many people judge a book by its cover," she says. "I've been through a lot, and I think that's one of the reasons why I'm so confident, and I'm so comfortable in my own skin and I know who I am, is because I've lived a lot of life in 34 years."

And if fans need anymore clarity on how she feels about Teresa, Rachel says she'd rather undergo another double-hip replacement than interact with her co-star.

"The hip replacements actually didn't hurt!" she cracks. "I woke up and I felt better."

The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo, with episodes streaming next day on Peacock.