I flew to Miami yesterday for my book signing so I didn't get to watch "The View" (we filmed it on Tuesday). And since I left right after my segment because I had a book signing on Staten Island that evening, I didn't know what Melissa and Kathy said during their segment. Now in my hotel, I just watched the whole thing online, and... wow... so many things going through my mind...
It's hard to get your thoughts straight when you're being interviewed for TV -- especially when you're trying to talk to 5 women at once like on The View and there are no "retakes." If you've ever done a live or even taped television segment, you know how much is going on and how overwhelming it can be, but I think I'm getting better! But I'm always much better at writing what I think because you're not on the spot, you can take your time, and there's the wonderful delete button! So here goes...
You all know I'm not big on bashing my co-stars, family, or really anyone on Twitter or Facebook and I try my hardest not to in my blogs either. I just don't live my life that way. I never have. I didn't run around town with Danielle's book. I don't meet with people's ex-husbands to dig up dirt on them. I don't hire private investigators to look up people's true identity on Twitter... I'm way too busy living my life, raising my beautiful daughters, working, and raising money for Neph Cure.
I only heard today that Melissa called me a liar or a fibber or whatever, when the press started calling me for my response. I'm not going to play he-said-she-said in the papers, but I do have to set the record straight so I wanted to just tell you all directly. I've been telling the same story--the truth--since it happened. Suddenly Melissa has a new answer for it, fresh from her new PR people: it' a lie and it's my "crutch." Are you kidding me?
Here's the absolute truth: I had no idea Melissa or Kathy were joining RHONJ until the day a Bravo producer called me and told me. And I was shocked almost out of my mind because I literally had no idea... not even the tiniest hint. The two of them can split hairs all they want and dance around the exact when/how/why, but the fact is you don't get cast on the show overnight. It takes interviews, phone calls, meetings, contract negotiations, etc. However much they did for however long I don't know because it was all behind my back.
After Dina and Danielle left in Season 2, there were two open spots on the show. None of us knew who they would pick. The producers interviewed tons of people in NJ. Every time one of my friends or even acquaintances got a call from producers for an interview, they called me immediately to tell me. That only makes sense, right? I was happy for anyone else to get the opportunity to be on the show and hoped a bunch of my friends would get picked. For whatever reason, they weren't. Why would anyone who knew me interview for a show I had been on for two years and keep it a secret from me???
I got my contract from Bravo for Season 3 and just a few weeks before we were scheduled to start filming, I got a call from one of the producers saying: "By the way, the new Housewives are your sister-in-law and cousin Kathy." Total shock. Never in a million years was that even a possibility to me because I'd never heard anything about it from them. In fact, when I was filming, Kathy would put the show down and say she could "never" be on TV like that. I would have to defend myself and say, "Well, I chose it and I'm having fun with it."
I called Melissa and Kathy to ask if it was true. They did not call me. They confirmed that yes they'd "interviewed" but said "nothing was set in stone yet." They said they were still thinking about the offer and going to make family decisions about it. Um, what? *Family* decisions?!?
Melissa's very good at giving you carefully selective answers. "I interviewed on a Friday and told Teresa about it that Sunday" is technically true, but far from the complete story. She could have interviewed that Friday, but was it her very first interview, the first time she'd ever had a hint of being on the show? Did she wait only 2 days between first getting in contact with Bravo and telling me? No and no.
Now add Kathy, my blood relative's spin on it. She told the ladies on The View they couldn't tell me about being on the show because they had signed confidentiality agreements. Which is it? You told me right away or you couldn't tell me? Now Kathy changes her story again and says there was "nothing to tell." What??? This is my life and my livelihood. It's not like you just started shopping at the same grocery store. Why keep it a secret if you weren't up to something not good?
Why is this important at all? Because the shock and betrayal I felt by my family joining the show behind my back (during an already hard time in my life) is why I was so obviously miserable during Season 3, and continued to affect my relationships with them into Season 4 (which you all know we filmed back-to-back).
I have fully admitted I'm not proud of everything I did and said in Season 3, but I was in a bad place and feeling very betrayed. And I've taken responsibility for it and apologized over and over to each and every person for anything I might have done or even things they thought I might have done just to make peace.
However, what's never been cleared up, apologized for, or even honestly addressed is how and why Melissa and Kathy joined the show behind my back. I had doubts and fears about their intentions for joining the show (because they hid it from me), which I think were answered by Kathy and Melissa's own actions on the show and in their own blogs. Melissa's very first blog says it all: bravotv.com. I can't even count the lies. You all know I included my brother and Melissa in everything in my life from all my televised parties like my Housewarming party all the way to Audriana's private first birthday party the month before we started filming the new season they had just joined without me knowing. Audriana's party was September 2010; Joey's infamous christening was October 2010, yet Melissa claims we "weren't speaking for months." Interesting math.
I wasn't excited going into filming with them because of how they joined the show. I worked through it slowly, and you see me now in Season 4 doing better with them (or you will very soon!). But that was filmed before I ever saw Season 3. Before I saw what the two of them actually said about me on the show. Still, I tried to work through it.
I even worked through it when I started to find out more about how Melissa especially got on the show. She innocently claims Bravo just called her up and wanted her. But I heard from many people inside the process that Melissa campaigned hard to get on the show from the first season and they didn't want her. Fine, I don't begrudge her that. She could have told me, but O.K. But she didn't stop.
Melissa contacted Danielle during Season 2 when Danielle was still filming with us. Why? Danielle claims Melissa wanted to film with her (as a "friend of Danielle"???), but that Danielle turned her down (my guess is Danielle was afraid she was being set up). I had no idea at the time, so when Danielle brought up Melissa's name and an accusation about the birth of Melissa's baby during the Season 2 Reunion, you saw my response (and poor Andy felt it!). How would Danielle know anything about my family? Caroline, Jacqueline, and I all blamed Danielle thinking Danielle was just telling more lies about knowing anyone in my family.
Fast forward to last year when Season 4 is filming. I was on "Watch What Happens Live" when Andy Cohen read me a tweet from Danielle asking what I thought about how Melissa had been contacting HER. Um, what? Again, total shock. Stupid, naive shock on my part I guess, but I thought Melissa trying to get on the show and keeping it a secret from me was the worst of it. Never did I imagine she would have tried to work with Danielle behind my back to get on too.
I asked Melissa directly if she talked to Danielle, and she admitted it. Ask her yourself. You're likely to get a typical half-truth, glossed over answer, but I'm pretty sure Danielle was smart enough to keep any of the evidence so she should be careful... There are just no words for how crazy this is to me, especially when you know, like Melissa did because I told her when it was happening, how much pain Danielle caused the Manzo/Laurita family -- publicly and behind the scenes. In my mind, there is no innocent explanation for contacting Danielle. Period.
So put yourself in my shoes. Can you see how I might be feeling hurt by this whole thing? It didn't have to be this way. Melissa could have told me the truth from the beginning, and we could have worked together. Once she was for-sure on the show, I talked to her and my brother about exactly that: putting it all behind us and teaming up to take over the world together. They turned me down. Why? I have no idea. Maybe it's because that wasn't their plan...
I was told over a year ago by several different people behind the camera that to clinch their spot on the show (well before that one Friday interview I'm guessing), Melissa and my brother made a Godfather-style video where they acted out different crazy parts and talked about how they would "take me down" if they were cast and sent it to Bravo. Apparently lots of people saw it and they all laughed about how ridiculous and pathetic it was, and that it was of course "TV gold." I've never seen the tape. Does it exist? I have no idea. Maybe someone should ask Melissa. Here's my guess as to what she'll say: either it's an absolute lie and doesn't exist (in which case she better hope it never comes out) or that yes, they did and it was all in "fun." I'm fairly certain if I saw it, I wouldn't think it was very fun, but ok... So add "audition tape" to another thing I didn't know about.
And no, I didn't put out the story about the tape in Star magazine a couple of weeks ago, despite Melissa's accusations that I did. I don't put out bad stories about anyone ever. It's not my style first of all, and it's just not smart. The truth always comes out. I'm sorry Melissa has enemies, but you don't have to look very far in NJ (or on Twitter) to find people who have a beef with her. That's not my deal though. I don't wish that on anyone, especially having suffered the tabloids myself.
The point is that still after finding out about the possible tape and the definite Danielle connection, I STILL made peace with Melissa and Kathy. Then, after filming Season 4, we filmed the Season 3 Reunion in September, and they all came at me. I thought we were in a better place, and then bam! That's when I stopped talking to them. I just wanted to move past it all, and I was fortunate enough to get to leave for the Celebrity Apprentice right afterwards and do just that.
Since September I haven't heard from Melissa or Kathy personally. I've gotten texts and a few tweets from them and I've sent texts and tweets to them about their kids' birthdays and supporting their new businesses, but that's it. That's not how we've ever communicated before in my family, but that's where I guess we stand now. It's very sad to me.
I did send my brother and Melissa an invitation to Gia & Milania's birthday party in January. They didn't respond, so I was surprised when Melissa showed up alone, posed for photographs, and left.
So when I got a call this week that suddenly Melissa and Kathy wanted a big reunion on The View, I'm sorry, I passed. Not because I thought anyone was going to attack me. Because we have a lot to resolve, and I didn't think it could be done sitting on a couch in front of an audience for a few minutes. That's not honest or real, and both things are very important to me.
At this point, I am honestly over that they joined the show. I've accepted it, I've learned to work with it, and I really do truly hope they get everything out of it that they hoped they would. I'm not looking for an apology or anything. Just the truth would be nice. Or how about just not calling me a liar about your own lie?
Everything I'm seeing on Season 4 now I'm actually seeing with you all for the first time too. I had no idea everyone was talking and plotting behind my back... Maybe it's good I didn't know because I was pretty overwhelmed with everything. I was blessed to get a break and do "Celebrity Apprentice" and it really did change me, showed me what was important in life. But I promise you, I'm not going to be bullied by anyone... or everyone if they really are all working together to "bring me down." I can't wait to start filming Season 5 so we can finally deal with everyone's crazy face-to-face. It's easy enough to be a tough guy behind my back, but let's do this out in the open.
Yes, I love my family, but I don't like them very much right now. I can't change the past, but in the present they continue to retweet bad stories about me and threats to my husband, they accuse me of planting every bad story that's ever written about them, and they lie about everything. It's not cool, not if you really want to move forward.
I want us to be whole again but it's going to take time... more than a few minutes on a couch. I'm guessing that "time" for us will come the same way this whole fight started -- on the show. You all watched our relationship fall apart, I think you deserve to watch us put it back together. At least, that's my hope. It's going to take them actually being honest though. I guess we all have to wait and "watch what happens" right?
In the meantime, I'm going to keep my head up, keep concentrating on all that is good and wonderful in my life -- like my beautiful daughters, my wonderful husband, and my amazing, inspiring fans! -- and continue to avoid tiny battles on Twitter and in the press. I want to win the war and to me that means dealing with this head on and getting my family back on the same page, back together. Think of what we could do if we were all fighting for the same thing!
Thank you all for supporting me and my family! You've become part of my family these past 3 years, and I love love love you all!