Photo Credit: Courtesy of Bravo
Finally, the truth comes out! On Part 3 of The Real Housewives of New Jersey reunion show, we learned that one of the cast members is a former stripper. Yes, it's true! But it's not Melissa Gorga. It's her husband, Joe!
Just when you thought the season 4 reunion special couldn't get any more heated, producers brought in the husbands for part 3. Naturally, both Joes -- Giudice and Gorga -- are hot-headed yellers. And they do plenty of it, especially when discussing matters like who's more successful and who's responsible for the schism among the Giudice clan. But as for stripping? Eh. None of the men see much evil in it.
Watch Joe Gorga unveil his past:
When host Andy Cohen reveals that Joe used to be "a dancer of the Chippendales variety," Joe joyfully acknowledges this badge of honor. "Absolutely, look at me!" he says. "I was. I did it for a year, absolutely. I made some money…You know I had a G-string, it looked like a -- it was an elephant."
This explains his confusion over the central conflict of season 4. For months, the women have verbally mud wrestled over an incident that took place at the Posche fashion show at the end of season 3. A strip club owner named Angelo Vrohidi stopped by the ladies' table and addressed Melissa like an old friend (insinuating that Melissa used to work as a stripper in his club). Though Melissa hardly recalled him (and denies a stripper past), Teresa Giudice was relentless in her pursuit of the truth (stripper or not?), dragging all the women into her quest to find out. According to Jacqueline Laurita, Teresa herself even orchestrated Angelo's visit that night.
At the reunion, viewers got to see the husbands' reaction to all this. "What's the problem with a stripper?" asks Joe, guilelessly. "We talk about strippers like we're talking about serial killers," quips Jacqueline's husband, Chris Laurita.
Of course, these lunkheads are unable to understand that some women (including their own wives) might find stripping shameful. It's one of the humorous ironies of this particular version of the Housewives franchise. But their mystification does nothing to deflate the expanding balloon of hatred between Teresa and the other women. The argument over who knew what about Melissa's past has churned on and on. Part 3 of the reunion brought Kim D. DePaola, the owner of Posche Boutique, into the mix.
Watch Kim D. make a splash at the reunion:
Turns out, Kim D. was the one who planted the seed of discord, because she was angry at Melissa over a professional matter. She was the one who tipped off Teresa about some rumors she heard about Melissa's past. "Something happened in my business with Melissa," she admits. "She promoted another business that had the same spelling as me and I was annoyed…People at the salon said, 'My friends owned a club and Melissa used to work there.' Bingo! Listen, I'm a little revengeful, and when I got this news I asked Teresa to come to the salon with me."
Teresa doesn't deny their trip to the salon (and meeting Angelo there), but she insists she didn't arrange for Angelo's appearance at Posche. To her mind, all she did was bring the rumors to Melissa's attention. (Okay, sure, TV cameras were there at the time, but what are you going to do? They're on a show!) But Melissa is hurt, and the argument has gone on so long that all the women are clearly tired of repeating themselves. "I never called you a stripper!!!!" screeches Teresa at one point. "Never!"
"You want a relationship with your brother?" asks Melissa. "Go ahead. Have one. I will never look at you again. And watch my eyes. You're done with me. You're done with my children."
The episode included some other unpleasantries, such as Rich Wakile discussing his morning erections and Jacqueline accusing Joe Giudice of spreading rumors that she used to be a stripper. (But Jacqueline, don't you see he meant well? These men like strippers!) Caroline Manzo, for her part, views season 4 as a learning experience.
"I learned from season 4 that I don't like who Caroline was because of what this became," she says. "I would bet that each one of us, as we watch this reunion, won't be too proud of ourselves. But with family, the only way to heal is to tell the truth."
With all this truth out there, it's very hard to imagine all these people returning for season 5. On the other hand, there are bills to pay. Have you seen the home prices in New Jersey?
Sad that the reunion is finally over? Enjoy a montage of some of the most heated moments from the last three weeks. All we have to say is that these ladies must be exhausted!