Jeff Lewis says he regrets the fight that cost him his nearly 20-year friendship with Jenni Pulos.
“I am not trying to sway anyone’s opinion. I am going to let everybody watch it and everyone is going to come to their own conclusions. But I just want to point out a couple of things,” Lewis said.
He went on to claim that Pulos said working in his office was “humiliating” and he later heard that her job at Jeff Lewis Design was keeping her from the acting career she always wanted. Lewis added that their major fight, which turned personal pretty quickly, took place in a car, and ended with the termination of their friendship.
Lewis says that watching the episode back is “uncomfortable” and “sad” because “it is so raw.”
“There are a lot of editors that have their hands on this show and I’ve never seen the show just be filmed in real time,” he said. “We film thousands and thousands of hours of TV that gets edited and manipulated but this was like a real, true, documentary.”
However, when asked how he felt about the argument after the fact, Lewis admitted that he and Pulos were both wrong in the way they handled the blow up.
“I have looked at this episode and I have had a lot of time to think about it and I wish I would have handled it differently,” he said. “I probably should have not called her out in front of other people because that really embarrassed her.”
“It wasn’t worth losing a friendship over,” Lewis continued. “So I have deep regrets about that.”
Pulos spoke out about the fight for the first time in a recent issue of PEOPLE, saying that she was blindsided when he fired her during the fight. “I had no idea it was coming,” Pulos said.
In September, PEOPLE broke the news that Pulos and Lewis had ended their personal and professional relationship. On his radio show, Lewis claimed that Pulos hadn’t worked for him for “years” and that their relationship had been faked for the show. He also alleged that Pulos filed claims of wrongful termination and abuse and victimization against him, which she vehemently denied.
“Citing wrongful termination claim, wrong. Citing abuse claim, wrong. Citing victimization claim, wrong.” Pulos told PEOPLE. And as for their relationship on the show, “it was very real,” she said. “I was his employee and I worked for him. It was very authentic, and that’s important.”
“It’s semantics at this point,” Lewis said of whether or not Lewis actually reported him to network higher-ups. “She mentioned in the article that she never made a formal complaint . . . Maybe you didn’t walk into HR with your attorney but you made accusations. And those accusations had to have been investigated.”
Though he seemingly walked back some details of the alleged filing, he maintains that a Bravo executive did have dinner with him and separately with Jenni, and that “my show-runner was on the phone for four hours talking to multiple executives going frame by frame to make sure there was no abuse that was being alleged.”
He added, “I would never make something like this up because it is damaging to my reputation and my career. So that is not something I would ever make up.”
Reps for Pulos and Bravo did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
As of Tuesday, Flipping Out had not yet been renewed for a twelfth season. Lewis said on his Sirius XM radio show that his contract with Bravo was not renewed before an Oct. 15 deadline. He later clarified, claiming the show had not been canceled.
In recent months, the Bravo star has been surrounded by controversy. In June, the surrogate who carried his and partner Gage Edward’s now two-year-old daughter Monroe, filed a lawsuit against him, Edward, Bravo, and Flipping Out’s production company, Authentic Entertainment, for allegedly filming her giving birth without her permission, among other issues.
The Flipping Out season 11 finale airs Tuesday at 10/9c on Bravo.