Despite Angela "Big Ang" Raiola‘s on-screen clashes with her husband Neil Murphy, he insists the two were very much in love when she died of stage 4 cancer Feb. 18 at the age of 55.
“I was there at the end. I never left her side. I went to every procedure – even though she didn’t want me, I went. I was there at the hospital for the last two days with her. I mean, to me, we weren’t ‘estranged,’ ” he told Entertainment Tonight on Wednesday. “She didn’t want me there, I didn’t want to argue with a sick person. I was on the phone with her every day. I talked to her before chemo, after chemo. When she had a couple of procedures done, she was in the hospital for a day, I was there. So, I wouldn’t call it estranged. It was just, you know, she was going through a rough time and she, I guess, took it out on me. And I wasn’t going to fight with her. I didn’t walk away.”
Murphy’s comments echo what Mob Wives creator and producer Jennifer Graziano told PEOPLE about their relationship ahead of Wednesday’s series finale.
“I think a lot of Ang’s back and forth with Neil stemmed from her anxiety over her illness,” she explained. “She loved him, and I can say unequivocally that he loved her.”
VIDEO: Big Ang Leaves Her Husband on Mob Wives Finale
During Wednesday’s episode, Raiola vowed to focus on her family and live her life to the fullest but insisted she was done with Murphy, telling the camera, “all he does is stress me out.”
But in the end, Murphy confirms he kept vigil by her hospital bedside in her final hours.
“I was lying in bed with her the day before, but she was kind of out of it,” he told ET. “I was trying to calm her down, so I was just rubbing her back for like an hour trying to put her to sleep. That was the last time we spent together.”
RELATED VIDEO: Mob Wives Cast Take Us Inside Big Ang’s Final Moments
Also on Wednesday night, VH1 aired a special tribute to the reality star, Larger Than Life: A Celebration of Big Ang.
“Ang, you are going to be missed tremendously,” the Real Housewives of New Jersey star said. “We had great times together, you had great energy and were positive and made me laugh.”