The second part of the two-part Real Housewives of New Jersey reunion on Sunday ended in an unexpected group hug between Teresa Giudice, Jacqueline Laurita, Melissa Gorga, Siggy Flicker and Dolores Catania.
But before the ladies could get there, they had to come to a truce surrounding the bitter feud between Laurita and her former friends, Giudice and Gorga. Here’s how they handled that — and four other major moments from the season 7 conclusion.
1. Giudice doubled down on her claims that Laurita had called the feds on her
The first part of the RHONJ reunion ended with Giudice dropping the bombshell claim that Laurita and RHONJ alum Caroline Manzo were behind the government’s investigation into her family’s finances — a case that sent both the Turning Tables author and her husband Joe to jail. So it only made sense for Sunday’s reunion to pick up right there.
“She was definitely dabbling in it,” Giudice said, of Laurita. “She was speaking to people, getting information, that maybe those certain people then went to the feds.”
“Jacqueline’s an investigator,” Giudice’s sister-in-law Gorga added. “You talk to a lot of people. And so that’s why she feels this way. She’s not saying you caused her to go.”
Laurita continued to deny the allegation, claiming “the investigation started way before when we were friends.” But it was her husband Chris who actually shed some light on why Teresa might have pointed her finger towards Jacqueline.
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He explained that a real estate dispute occurred between Joe Giudice and an unnamed third party, and that that man had threatened to go to the feds. Attempting to mediate, Chris said he spoke with a mutual friend who relayed the message to Joe. But Joe allegedly refused to meet with the man to solve the dispute.
‘I said, ‘I want nothing to do with this,’ ” Chris explained. “My wife had nothing to do with it.”
But Teresa and her brother Joe Gorga stood true to their story — and explained that when Teresa left prison, they had heard Jacqueline was involved in informing their informant.
“I feel like your wife was involved, speaking to him,” said Teresa. “She has a lot of people do her dirty work.”
2. Teresa said she and Joe aren’t the only ones who should have served time for their crimes
She may have served 11 months in prison on 41 counts of mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud — and her husband may currently be 7 months into his 41-month prison sentence for the same crimes — but, according to Teresa, their not the only ones who should be in jail.
“The numbers that were on the paper were incorrect — that’s what I got in trouble for,” Teresa said, responding to questions that she still didn’t seem to understand why she was sent to prison. “I didn’t fill out that mortgage paper — the mortgage broker did, the bank did, and the attorneys. Alls I did was sign on the dotted line.”
“Listen, I took responsibility,” she added. “But I wish everybody else in that room would have went away also.”
Teresa said she never blamed Joe Giudice for her time away — but understands why she was really sent away. “He took full responsibility,” she revealed. “He said ‘My wife had nothing to do with it.’ But because I’m in the public eye, they had to make an example of me. And they did. When I went to court, if you saw the photographers [and] helicopters that were there. It was insanity.”
3. Teresa explained why she’s reluctant to talk about Joe’s deportation
It was a question that caused Teresa to storm out of an interview with Access Hollywood Live back in July. And the 44-year-old reality star finally explained why she’s so sensitive to discuss her feelings about the chances of her husband being sent back to his native Italy at the end of his prison sentence.
“It’s a legal matter, so we’re not supposed to discuss it — and we’ll deal with that when it comes,” she first said, before explaining that she doesn’t want to even put the idea of something like that out into the universe.
“There’s nasty people out there who would give it life,” she said. “And I don’t need to give it life. ”
4. Jacqueline and Melissa got to the bottom of why their friendship fell apart
They spent much of the reunion accusing one another of lying and calling one another nasty names. But by the episode’s end, RHONJ finally had a clear picture of why Jacqueline and Melissa’s friendship fell apart.
Chris — the show’s dominant voice of reason — laid it out. He explained that when the Gorgas joined the show, he tried to stay neutral in their conflict with the Giudices — but that Jacqueline didn’t want to judge them based on the negative things she had heard about them.
“That’s how we got to start to get to know Melissa and Joe. And honestly, we fell in love with them,” he said — describing how Jacqueline then tried to mend the fences between the Gorgas and the Giudices.
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“I told Jacqueline, ‘You are going to get f—–. They’re family. And one day they’re going to come back together and you’re going to become the bad guy,’ ” he said. “Well here we are.”
He added: “Melissa and Joe, they made us hate Teresa. Jacqueline stood up for you guys. It kind of ruined our relationship with Joe [Giudice] and Teresa. I think Jacqueline feels she put her neck on the line for you, by going against Teresa and Joe’s wishes of embracing you.”
Melissa didn’t seem to agree. “I was irrelevant to you and I was never a friend,” she told Jacqueline. “[Your] mind messed with [you] and [you] thought I was going to turn on [you]. In fact, you had to prove you own self right and you made it happen all by yourself. When the truth is, I would have loved to see you guys mend.
5. Teresa and Jacqueline agreed to end their war
They certainly didn’t end the evening as friends, but Teresa and Jacqueline both seemed to respect one another to end their ongoing battle.
“Let’s agree to disagree,” said Jacqueline. “We’re never going to be friends again, that’s fine. When we’re around each other, let’s respect our boundaries.”
“We both said terrible things,” she added. “I would like to get to a place — we don’t have to be friends, we don’t have to go deep — we don’t have to do any of that. [But] from this moment forward, I will not utter a bad word about you.”
Teresa agreed. “Please — I beg you — don’t hurt me and my family,” she said. “If anybody wants to talk to you, don’t talk to them. Peace that’s all I want. Peace.”