Teresa Giudice No Longer Solely Blames Melissa Gorga for Family Issues After Binging Old 'RHONJ' (Exclusive)
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There's one thing Teresa Giudice agrees on with her sister-in-law, Melissa Gorga, headed into season 13 of The Real Housewives of New Jersey.
"Her tagline, [cutting] the toxic people out? Ditto," Teresa tells ET over video chat, referencing Melissa's new opening catchphrase: "You'll never see how toxic someone is until you breathe fresher air."
"I a million percent agree with her, one million percent," Teresa reiterates. "I want the same. She said it, so she needs to stick by it."
Season 13 will likely bring some deja vu to RHONJ viewers, as Melissa and Teresa seemingly find themselves in the same place they were when Melissa joined the show in season 3... maybe worse.
"No kidding!" Teresa cracks when ET brings up the fact that this season seems to be focused on her and Melissa's issues, yet again. It all comes to a head at the end of the season -- which is still months away -- with a finale feud that left the sisters-in-law not on speaking terms. They haven't interacted since filming that day in August, just before Teresa's wedding to Louie Ruelas.
"The fight over," Teresa declares. "I don't want to fight anymore. I just want peace in my life and as I said, I wish them well."
Both Teresa and Melissa have been firm that they have no plans to abandon ship, putting the series in a tricky position for season 14. It's unclear how they can both exist on a show that's centered around spending time with one another.
"I guess that's a call that Bravo would have to make," Teresa offers. "We're not speaking, and I need to heal myself. Melissa said the same thing. So yeah, we're not speaking. We did not spend the holidays together, like that's it -- and after you watch the season, you'll understand more."
The drama reignited for Melissa, Teresa and Joe Gorga, Melissa's husband and Teresa's brother, at season 12's reunion, taped just before cameras went up on season 13. Teresa joined in with co-star Jennifer Aydin, calling Joe a "b***h boy." Their heated back and forth led Joe to storm off-stage, threatening to quit the show before an awkward heart-to-heart in hair and makeup with his sister got him back on set.
Reunion was the beginning of the snowballing for this saga, as it came just after Teresa announced on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen that Melissa would not be a part of her bridal party. Instead, her husband-to-be's sisters would stand beside her on the big day. Melissa's expressed how she found that hurtful, but Teresa says she doesn't understand why she's offended.
"Not at all," she admits. "There's always been a divide. ... If we were not divided then, of course, by all means, she would have been in my wedding."
"From day one, I met Louie's sisters, they were nothing but pleasant to me," she goes on to say. "If someone loves you, you'll feel the love, correct?"
When Teresa posted a photo with one of Louie's sisters, praising her for loving her, Teresa's ex-husband, Joe Giudice, was quick to slide into the comments section with, "I thought you loved Melissa."
"I know!" Teresa exclaims, "and then I texted him, 'Oh my... could you please take that down?!' I kept thinking to myself, why am I asking him to take that down? I could just delete it. So, I just did it. I mean, he's just so funny, he really is. He always makes -he still, he always makes me laugh. He's great."
Teresa has long put the blame on Melissa for her issues with her brother, but as season 13 is set to air, Teresa has changed her tune.
"I take that back," she confesses. After going back and binging seasons 3 through 12, it's apparently given her new insight into the dynamics at play.
"It was both of them," she says. "My brother calls me garbage -- 'I'm not sticking with garbage like you' -- the first episode that aired of season 3, and I guess I was like, 'Oh, my god!' I was like, 'Wow, that hurts,' because it's like, this is my brother. We were best friends growing up."
"It's just, we weren't raised that way," she continues, tearing up. "I don't know you know what happened, and when I say 'fame and money' it's like... I guess when people want to be famous, they'll do anything, which is sad. And I guess people like a paycheck, you know? And they will throw anybody under [the bus] to get what they want, which is really sad, and I just never thought my family would do that to me ever, in a million years."
Teresa also reveals some resentment toward her brother, saying he exposed her relationship with Louie to the world before she was ready to share it.
"I didn't even want to introduce him, because I wanted to take my time," she recalls, "but my brother ... of course wanted to put that out there, you know? And it's like, that was my story to tell, not his. I was like, OK... and the thing was, right there could have been a new chapter for me, a new beginning, and what really -- again -- hurt me tremendously, tremendously, was I brought Louie on my show, on the Housewives, and then you have Melissa’s -- Margaret [Josephs] said this -- that Melissa and her are best friends, so you have Margaret speaking poorly of my boyfriend? And my sister-in-law, now this is gonna be her future brother-in-law?"
"If that was my best friend, I would have been like, 'Cut the s**t. That's my family.' Like, what are you doing?"
It's a point of contention that's at the center of season 13's premiere, as Teresa sits down with Margaret to clear the air about last year, which saw the designer asking a lot of questions about Louie's past history, both romantic and otherwise. Teresa's ultimately able to forgive Margaret and move forward, but still takes issue with Melissa not intervening last year. It's one of the reasons Teresa says she excluded Melissa from her bridal party.
"I know Jen has said stuff about my brother, and I said to Jen -- because she is a good friend of mine, she is ... I could say she's one of my best friends, because she's been nothing but loyal to me, like, a great friend to me -- and I remember her and my brother got into it," Teresa rattles off as a comparison. "I said, 'Jen, you need to make it better with my brother. That's my brother,' and you know what she said to me? She's like, 'Teresa, you're a million percent right,' and she's like, 'I will.' And she did, she did make it better."
"Right there just showed me that Melissa didn't really care about her future brother-in-law, didn't care about her sister-in-law's feelings," she continues.
Teresa also admits to "testing" Melissa's loyalty in the past, pointing to a text exchange from season 12 as one test Melissa failed. When Teresa asked Melissa to shut down any discussion of Louie, she announced it to the group; while Melissa says that was simply her doing what Teresa asked, Teresa doesn't see it that way.
"Right there shows no loyalty, shows me that she could give two s**ts about me," she says. "I got my answer right there. So, why would you be invited to my wedding if I see in her actions the way she treated me? ... That text was in private. If you were sending your friend that text, would you want him to share that text?"
In more repeating of history, rumors circulate about Melissa in season 13, this time about cheating. The trailer shows Jennifer discussing them, but the internet seems to believe Margaret is the original source.
"I have to say, everyone on the internet is really smart," Teresa quips. "They know how to connect the dots."
Teresa claims she "of course" tried to shut down the rumors, but ultimately "I have no control over that."
"I can't control what other people say," she notes. When the two couples sit down to discuss their issues in season 13, things get intense, with a near-physical altercation between Louie and Joe.
"Isn't it sad?" Teresa asks. "It's so sad, and I can't wait for you guys to get to know Louie, 'cause you're gonna really see how amazing he -- and I already know how amazing he -- is, I can't wait for everyone else to see who Louie really is."
While it will air after season 13 finishes, Teresa says she's most excited for her wedding to hit TV as a standalone special; she also wants it known that she never disinvited her brother and Melissa from attending the "I dos." They opted not to show up, alongside new Housewife Rachel Fuda.
"I liked Rachel at first," Teresa says of the newcomer. "I heard she just said in an interview that I didn't give her a fair chance. I think I did. ... I invited her to my wedding."
Then there's Danielle Cabral, who joins the circle by way of Teresa. The OG star praises the newbie for trying to get to know all the women individually, and not coming in with preconceived notions. She's also a fan of "friend of" Jenn Fessler.
"She's so funny, oh my god!" Teresa says. "I love funny people. I love people that make me laugh. She makes me laugh. ... She makes me laugh, she makes me pee my pants -- literally!"
Season 13 seems to be one of highs and lows, and Teresa promises it's not all centered around her sister-in-law showdown.
"Every week is going to be a shocker," she teases. "That's how I felt, every week I was like, 'What? What? What?! Are you kidding me?!' Like, that's how I felt. I'm gonna feel just like the viewers, trust me."
The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT, and you can get more Teresa every week on her PodcastOne show, Namaste B***hes, wherever you listen to podcasts.
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