Teresa Giudice joins the new reality show in 2009 along with her friends, Jacqueline Laurita and Dina Manzo. Jacqueline’s friend Danielle Staub joins, as well as Dina’s sister, Caroline. For the first two years of the show, Danielle is the focus and source of any problems. All of the other cast members get along for the most part (except for Dina and Jacqueline, but this is minor in the grand scheme of things but results in a still shaky relationship) but by the end of the show, no one likes or wants to play with Danielle. The producers, I think drop a tell-all book about Danielle’s life into the Manzos’ hands that exposes her past for a national audience. Instead of maybe bringing up the concerns with Danielle secretly to find out the truth, the Manzos and Teresa decide to tell the world about it, probably as the producers instructed them to do. The finale comes with Teresa flipping a table over the allegations made about Danielle and fighting and confusion over who really exposed the book. Dina is mad at Jacqueline for throwing her under the bus and then having a drink with Danielle following the dinner.
The next season, Dina exits the show early, after only a few episodes. She explains that she is leaving because of the Danielle drama but it is now largely known that Dina was basically forced to leave. It was discovered and I think Danielle is the one who made it known, that Dina’s ex-husband and father of her daughter, Lexi did not OK their child appearing on the show. Dina might have forged his signature and Danielle may have exposed this. This was the underlying tension between the two and Dina couldn’t stand that Danielle was winning this one and basically was able to get Dina fired from the show. Dina didn’t receive the support she thought she would get from her family and friends on the show. Already at odds with Jacqueline, she only felt more betrayed now. She was mad that Caroline and Teresa didn’t fight hard enough for her to stay on the show either. This is the source of why Dina isn’t speaking to her sister and sister-in-law now. Teresa continued to support Dina in various ventures but the two had drifted apart as a result of the show’s events.
Season 2 was much like season 1 following Dina’s departure
The Posche fashion show was one of the only times that the women filmed with Danielle. Teresa accosted her, as per production’s request. What is the point of doing a show if none of the women will talk to each other? This lead to 19 year old Ashley Holmes, Jacqueline’s daughter, becoming involved. Apparently, Danielle’s antics (which now looking back…what did she really do?) were too much for young Ashley to handle and she resorted to pulling Danielle’s hair because she was so sick of Danielle and heard that she had hit her mother, which was not true. This all culminated in the police being called and an eventual lawsuit from Danielle against Ashley. The rest of the cast went to Italy with their families and this is when Caroline is starting to become perturbed by Teresa. Teresa and her husband, Joe had filed for bankruptcy when they became 11 million dollars in debt.
This same season, Joe Giudice was pulled over and got a DUI. As Teresa’s life became harder, it seemed Caroline just got more and more annoyed by it. She will say later that things just didn’t add up. Regardless, the financial trouble sent Teresa to work and on her way to becoming a New York Times’ bestselling author with her first book, Skinny Italian. What were the rest of the women doing? Jacqueline: nothing. Caroline: nothing. Danielle: nothing. Teresa went on a book tour and was on her way to becoming a success. Season 3 would see the release of her second cookbook, Fabulicious and in season 4 an adult beverage, Fabellini. Teresa was also cast to be on the Celebrity Apprentice while her co-stars continued to take no opportunities to have successful ventures like Teresa did.
All the meanwhile, Teresa is appearing on cover after cover of magazines. Some stories in the tabloids were aimed at her fellow housewives but they were mostly about her life and not positive stories for the most part. When filming season 4 began, Caroline, Jacqueline and their families used the tabloid stories to air their own frustrations out on Teresa. I mean, how could the women who can barely formulate a sentence become the runaway star of this franchise? How could she be the one who is writing cookbooks, touring the country and is plastered all over the magazines as you wait in line at the grocery store? After all, she is in massive debt and had to agree to pay back all of the money instead of going through with the bankruptcy. This is not someone who deserves this, right? And look at her, while all of these things are happening behind the scenes, later including her husband’s DUI case and later, a still on-going case against him involving him fraudulently obtaining a driver’s license by posing as his brother, Teresa is acting like nothing is wrong when filming and is continuing to achieve success with her cookbook and is going far on the Apprentice. To Caroline and Jacqueline, this is mind blowing. How could someone who has so many problems continue to put on a happy face and ignore the issues in front of the cameras?
This the mentality as season 3 begins. Caroline, Jacqueline and their families are frustrated with Teresa for these reasons. When the 3 of them began the show together, it was all of them against Danielle. They stood united. But now, there was a clear runaway star and it didn’t include them. Teresa was taking every opportunity she could to make money so they could pay their debts. The mortgage bubble collapse and recession hit her family hard as her husband is in the home improvement industry and steady work was hard for him to find. We still do not know what the real story is with Teresa getting paid to appear in the tabloids, but if she was given the opportunity to make some money by answering questions and getting a picture taken, could you not blame her for taking it? When you are that much in debt because of your own financial missteps, have 4 young daughters and a house to take care of, and have hefty lawyer fees because of your husband’s legal issues, your moral compass may not be swinging perfectly straight. The Manzos and Lauritas at that time are frustrated with this situation immensely and do not take this into consideration, or at least don’t care to.
What a great time for Teresa’s brother, his wife and her first cousin to join the show! Bravo isn’t stupid and saw that Teresa was taking off. The show had previously focused on three family members: Dina, Caroline and Jacqueline but with Dina (and Danielle) gone, Jacqueline and Caroline weren’t enough. The producers added Melissa Gorga, who was basically a younger, hotter version of Teresa who lead an over-the-top life and had a sexy relationship with her husband. When we first met Teresa, she told viewers that she and her husband have sex every day, paid cash for tens of thousands of dollars worth of furniture to outfit their new mansion. Melissa seemed to check all of the boxes that Teresa had once checked. But now, Teresa wasn’t first season Teresa anymore. She was now a sort of business woman and amounted a great number of legal problems. She wasn’t the easy-breezy Jersey girl she once was. Luckily, her sister-in-law was waiting in the wings to take her place.
Melissa Gorga first appeared on the Real Housewives of New Jersey on the season 2 reunion show. Trying to attack Teresa, Danielle said that Teresa did not acknowledge her nephew or visit him at the hospital when he was born. This sent Teresa into a fiery rage worse than the table flip. She pushed Andy Cohen off of her as he tried to restrain her and told Danielle “do not break/bring up my family!” It was later revealed that the nephew Danielle was referring to was baby Joey, Melissa’s son. Teresa did in fact visit him when he was born, but her husband did not. Melissa admitted on Season 4 that she was corresponding with Danielle about Teresa. Melissa said she was pregnant and annoyed with Teresa. Danielle claims that they had much more correspondence than Melissa has lead on, although she has never shown any proof of it despite claiming to have saved phone records, texts, etc. She further claimed Melissa tried to get on the show during season 2 and asked to film with Danielle. It has also been rumored that Melissa and her husband sent a “Godfather” like video to the Bravo producers in which they said that should they be casted, they would “take Teresa down.”