In this week’s issue of PEOPLE, Pulos spoke out for the first time about her dismissal from his company, Jeff Lewis Design, making it clear that she had been fired. “I didn’t decide,” she said. “He decided he was going to terminate me from his business and so then in turn, the decision was made. I always saw myself seeing the show through.”
While Lewis declined to comment to PEOPLE at the time, in a heated segment on his Sirius XM radio show, Jeff Lewis Live! Thursday, the house flipper, 48, accused his former friend of lying about the circumstances surrounding her departure from his company in May. Having previously said that Pulos, 45, had reported him to Bravo and show executives for harassment and abuse, and further labeling their relationship as faked for the show, Lewis essentially doubled down on his claims.
“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.
For her part, Pulos remains steadfast. “Citing wrongful termination claim, wrong. Citing abuse claim, wrong. Citing victimization claim, wrong,” she told PEOPLE.
“We see things very differently,” she added. “I believed I had been an asset to his business and he believed differently, I imagine.”
In September, PEOPLE broke the news that the friends of nearly 20 years, who’ve appeared on the show together for 11 seasons, had parted ways after an explosive fight, which will reportedly appear in the series’ current season.
On his radio show, Lewis went on to question why Pulos had not come to him with her complaint.
In her interview, Pulos did tell PEOPLE why she decided not to hit back at Lewis after the pair split on bad terms and he began commenting about her. “My engaging would not have been the right move,” she said. “What good is that going to do? All I know is my own truth.”
In September, Lewis had also claimed that he and Pulos had been faking their working relationship for the purpose of the show for years — stressing that she was not a formal employee of Jeff Lewis Design. “I have always claimed that Flipping Out is a true authentic un-produced show. It is. However, Jenni has not worked for me. She has not been working for me, for several, several seasons,” the reality star said on Jeff Lewis Live then. “And I apologize because it is the one inauthentic thing about the show.”
Pulos told PEOPLE that claim is a misrepresentation. “It was very real,” she maintained. “I was his employee and I worked for him. It was very authentic, and that’s important.” She went on to say that Lewis floated the idea of her appearing on the show in a supporting “friend” role — one fact they agree on — but she denied the proposal. “I was not going to fake a friendship.”
Again, Lewis stuck to his story on Thursday’s Jeff Lewis Live, and claimed he had evidence to back it up.
“Jenni did work for me, she was my assistant when this show started,” Lewis said. “She was my assistant for 10 years until maybe the last 3 or 4 years . . . When we were filming for the last three years, she was not employed by Jeff Lewis Design. She worked for me, 5 months out of the year, but I did not pay her . . . I have the W-2s to back it up.”
Driving Lewis’ fiery segment on Thursday was “a lot of pain,” he said. “I’m hurt, I’m upset, I’m angry, I’m everything. I’m going through every bit of emotion . . . I’m devastated.”
Pulos says she was also torn up about the way their relationship ended, explaining to PEOPLE that she “had no idea” their parting ways was coming. As for her feelings about Lewis now, she says, “I’ve always wished him the best, and will continue to wish him the best. He’s a wonderful designer and has so many talents. I learned a lot and I’m proud of what we built.”
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Lewis has not been shy about discussing the rift with his former friend on the radio and his social media of the last three months, which has gotten him into hot water with Bravo and his boss at Sirius XM, Andy Cohen.
The house flipper drew a red “X” over Pulos’s face on a promotional photo posted to his Instagram. And, after he says his contract with Bravo expired without being renewed in October, he posted a picture of himself seemingly hung in the Bravo offices that he edited to appear to be covered with negative comments. The latter, Lewis says, drew criticism from Cohen, who he claims called him an “a–hole” via text message. He later clarified that despite his contract allegedly expiring, Flipping Out “hasn’t officially 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.