Former RHONY Enemies Jill and Ramona Reunite Over Bobby's Cancer Battle: 'We'll Always Have Each Other's Backs'
Real Housewives of New York stars Jill Zarin and Ramona Singer haven’t exactly seen eye-to-eye over the years, but they put their famous feud behind them now that Jill’s husband, Bobby Zarin, is in the hospital fighting for his life.
“It’s a whole new relationship for me,” Jill revealed to PEOPLE at her 5th Annual Luxury Luncheon in the Hamptons on Saturday, which raised money for the International Thyroid Oncology Group, which is researching cutting-edge treatments for advanced thyroid cancer.
“Ramona and I have gotten really close again,” she says. “We’re in a whole different place now. Boy, I never predicted that. I never thought that was coming, ever.”
Their once-tumultuous friendship made an 180-degree turn when Singer reached out to Jill as soon as she heard Bobby was hospitalized for complications in his fight against thyroid cancer — and told her that nothing from the past mattered now that he is so sick.
On Thursday, Jill revealed to PEOPLE exclusively that Bobby was recovering from a recent procedure at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City after his cancer took an unexpected turn last week. “We’re hoping for a miracle,” she said.
When Singer, 60, found out from mutual friends that Bobby was in the hospital, she called Jill and said she would come meet her for coffee at the hospital and do anything she could to help.
“When I heard that,” Singer tells PEOPLE, “my heart dropped and I said, ‘I have to reach out to her.”
“What she did was so real for me,” says Jill, 53. “I’ll never have a relationship with her the way I did before. That’s so far gone. It will never happen again. I will always give her the benefit of the doubt and forgive her.”
“She came to the hospital room with food and in sweats. We sat and talked and talked. She was there for me. Everything in the past just melted away. None of what happened in the past mattered anymore.”
Singer wasn’t the only one to rally by Zarin’s side. On Saturday, at the Luxury Luncheon, a galaxy of Bravo stars came out to support her amid hugs and tears. On hand at the lavish Hamptons event were RHONY stars Tinsley Mortimer, Luann D’agostino and Singer (with a new handsome beau whom she tells PEOPLE “calms her”), as well as former RHONY stars Kelly Bensimon and Cindy Barshop.
Housewives from afar included Gizelle Bryant from Real Housewives of Potomac, Marysol Patton of Real Housewives of Miami, Kathy and Rich Wakile of Real Housewives of New Jersey and Pettifleur Berenger of Real Housewives of Melbourne. Bachelor in Paradise‘s Vinny Ventiera also came to the party.
But it was Jill and Singer’s reunion that turned heads on Saturday. When Singer showed up, she and Jill shared a long embrace and whispered to each other about how happy they were to see each other.
“She showed up for me,” says Zarin.
Adds Singer: “Jill and I have had a very tenuous relationship over the years. But as soon as I heard about Bobby, I don’t care what our past is. She and I share a history together. I knew her for about eight years before we did the show. I sent her a text. I said, ‘I only wish the best for you and Bobby.’ I was happy to be there for her. We will always have each other’s backs.”
FROM PEN: Maria Menounos Reveals She Was Diagnosed with a Brain Tumor—While Her Mom Is Fighting Stage IV Brain Cancer
Bobby’s Uphill Cancer Battle
After being diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2009, Bobby had his thyroid removed and underwent radioactive iodine treatment, which works on most patients, Jill says.
But in 2013, the cancer spread to his lungs. Last fall Jill exclusively revealed to PEOPLE that he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and underwent Gamma Knife Radiosurgery at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
“We have the best doctors in the country,” she says. “We are working with Dr. David Pfister at MSK, Dr. Keith Bible at the Mayo Clinic and Dr. Steven Sherman at MD Anderson.”
But last week, they were all devastated when they learned his papillary thyroid disease became anaplastic thyroid cancer, one of the rarest cancers, which resists treatment, she says.
“Bobby is the most loving and caring person I have ever known besides my father,” Jill says. “Sometimes life just isn’t fair. But we have such a great love story. He is the love of my life and I will do everything in my power to heal and care for him.”
RELATED VIDEO: Jill Zarin’s Husband Bobby Hospitalized with Cancer Complications
Jill’s Most Over-the-Top Luncheon Yet
Even though Jill spent every minute last week in N.Y.C. with Bobby, she still had to host the Hamptons luncheon, which had been months in the making.
“Thank God for event planners Brian Kelly and Sean Koski of Ticket2Events and for publicist Kelly Brady and her team from Brandway Creative,” she says. “They did everything to pull this together – especially when I wasn’t here.”
With Jill more determined than ever to raise money for thyroid cancer research for Bobby and others who have the deadly disease, she opened up the event to the public by selling tickets to raise even more money.
Guests at the luxury luncheon enjoyed Kobe beef and other delicious fare prepared by famous chefs including Jill’s longtime friend, Bravo star Chef Roble. They sipped drinks from a Tito’s lemonade stand, got beauty treatments from GrandeCosmetics by Celebrity MUA and Beauty Educator, Ambassador Katrina D’Onofrio by Makeup by Katrina NYC — and were the first to see rugs Zarin debuted from her new rug line.
Zarin says she tried to get through the day as best she could.
“I think I just thought about being so grateful that all my friends and family showed up today from as far away as Australia, Florida, Los Angeles. I’d say half the party came from out of town. I just think I’m very lucky. Very lucky…
“But we are still hoping for a miracle.”