Inside Jersey Shore Star Ronnie Ortiz-Magro and Jen Harley's Volatile Relationship
Over the weekend, Harley was arrested for domestic battery against Ortiz-Magro, with whom she shares daughter Ariana Sky. News of Harley’s arrest follows a history of ups and downs, including cheating allegations, fiery publicized fights and physical altercations.
Here’s a look inside their contentious past.
Becoming Parents Together
In December, the Jersey Shore alum announced that he was expecting his first child — a girl! — with Harley three months into their relationship. Harley — also mom to an 11-year-old son named Mason — was six months along in her pregnancy at the time of the announcement.
“Thank you to everyone who has been supportive with advice & encouragement,” Ortiz-Magro, 32, captioned a photo of the couple, with the star snuggling close to his girlfriend’s baby bump as they posed outside N.Y.C.’s Rockefeller Center.
“People keep saying becoming a parent is the part of life. I’ve been blessed enough to have SOO MANY best parts of my life #NotSureIfThatMakesSense 🤔,” continued Ortiz-Magro. “I couldn’t be more excited to be taking this next step in my life!”
At the Jersey Shore Family Vacation premiere in Los Angeles on March 29, Ortiz-Magro told PEOPLE it was “really exciting” to think about his upcoming fatherhood journey — but that his hopes started out a little differently.
“I found out I’m having a baby girl and it’s like, ‘Oh my God, I didn’t want a girl,’ ” he revealed, adding to reporters, “I feel like I’ve done too many seasons of Jersey Shore that I know what girls can be like, and it has not given me a great perspective.”
“But no, I’m actually really excited. I have a lot of younger sisters, and I feel like this girl is going to make me softer,” he continued, adding that he thinks his daughter will “make me more normal and human, and I’m really looking forward to the next chapter of my life.”
“When we first started dating in the beginning, we’d joke around saying, ‘What if we had a kid? It’d be crazy and good looking!’ And we’d say ‘What would we name it?’ We joked that we liked Ariana,” the new dad told Us. “When she found out she was pregnant, we looked at each other and we’re like, ‘Guess we’re naming the baby Ariana if it’s a girl.’ Next thing you know, we find out the gender and we’re like, ‘Guess so!’ ”
Weeks after the couple welcomed their daughter, Jersey Shore Family Vacation audiences watched Ortiz-Magro get a little too close for comfort with a woman he brought home from the club in Miami — all while Harley was seven months pregnant back in Las Vegas.
A week later, Jersey Shore Family Vacation picked up right where things left off: with Ortiz-Magro locked in the bathroom with the woman. It’s unclear how long the two were alone, but eventually Pauly “DJ Pauly D” DelVecchio decided to step in.
“Ronnie — it’s not worth it,” Pauly whispered repeatedly through the door until Ortiz-Magro emerged with the girl, insisting they were “just talking.”
After walking her to her cab outside, he came back inside and thanked Pauly for intervening.
By the next morning, Ortiz-Magro had begun to regret his actions.
“I’m a bad guy,” he said, crying.
“Like right now, I’m just feeling like s—,” he continued. “I’ve been thinking about last night. I made a mistake. I f—ed up, and it’s something I need to tell Jen. I feel like it’s something that needs to be out there and I think that she’ll either respect me for that, or she’s going to leave me for it.”
“I have to talk to her because I feel like I crossed the boundary,” he said. “I crossed the line. There’s a very thin line of trust and respect and I feel like possibly I disrespected Jen and it doesn’t feel good. I’m definitely regretting everything.”
The only issue? Harley wasn’t picking up the phone — and the roommates realized that potentially incriminating photos or videos of Ortiz-Magro at the club might have surfaced on social media. (While filming, the cast doesn’t have access to their cell phones or the internet.)
“I’m just thinking the worst — the end of mine and Jen’s relationship, custody battles … just a bunch of s— that I don’t want to go through and I don’t want to put my kid through,” Ortiz-Magro said. “If she is done, it hurts. Because we’ve put so much effort in and for it to just go away so quickly, it’s kind of heartbreaking.”
At the end of April, Ortiz-Magro took his feud with Harley public when he shared signs of trouble in their relationship, posting an Instagram Story alleging that his girlfriend was keeping “sex videos” with an ex.
“Note to self, can’t turn a natural born HOE, into a HOUSEWIFE, if you find them in the gutter then leave them in the gutter. Not all people can be saved when they are so far gone. All you can say you did ur best and keep it moving,” he wrote Sunday, adding the hashtags #Facts and #YeahhhhhhBuddyyyy.
In a follow-up post, he asked fans to vote “yes” or “no” in a poll. “If your significant other keeps sex videos of their ex, shouldn’t they show enough respect to delete them, esp after being in a new relationship for over a year? #GiveMeYourThoughts.”
Ortiz-Magro went on to share an image of his head edited into a poster for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson‘s movie Rampage (which he changed to read “Ronpage”) as well as support from his reality show cast members.
In a text exchange with Deena Nicole Cortese, she sided with Ortiz-Magro. “Wow that’s insane,” she wrote, adding, “What girl even keeps that lol.”
The reality star also shared a slew of Instagram messages from fans telling him that his girlfriend was in the wrong.
Harley shot back in her own Instagram story, writing, “Can’t turn a coke head into a father! Yeahhh buddy.”
“I want to apologize for earlier to my fans, and especially @tater_tot_kitty,” he wrote. “I acted on my gut and not rationally. I should’ve never acted in such a [manner]. My deepest [apologies].”
The tension between Ortiz-Magro and Harley continued to escalate when she went live on Instagram in the middle of an argument at the end of April.
“Put your hands on me again,” he could be heard saying in the background.
“Seriously?” she replied.
“Put your f—ing hands on me again,” he said. “I dare you. I f—ing dare you.”
Ortiz-Magro then approached Harley and apparently tried to wrestle the phone out of her hand as she yelled “stop.” A few seconds later, the livestream ended. Harley’s Instagram account had since been disabled.
“That fight today was because [Ronnie] was asking [Jen] to move out so she moved out today per his request. You can see boxes in the video,” a source told PEOPLE of the live stream video.
Hours after his livestreamed altercation, the reality star apologized for his actions.
“I want to apologize to my family, friends and fans. This is a private matter that should have never been made public. I remain focused on my daughter and she is my number one priority,” he said in a statement shared on Twitter and Instagram Story.
Days after their nasty split unfolded on social media, a source told PEOPLE that the pair was “speaking civilly and trying to make sure Ariana has the best life possible.”
“They are going to have to work out the visitation stuff once the dust settles,” the source added.
Over a week after their messy split unfolded on social media, the dust appeared to have somewhat settled between the duo.
A source close to the Jersey Shore star told PEOPLE that communication between Ortiz-Magro and Harley was improving.
“Ronnie’s been doing better. He’s been going to the gym, working on himself,” the insider said. “And things with Jen have been pretty calm, surprisingly. It’s getting a lot better.”
“They are trying to work things out and co-parent,” the source added. “They’re splitting time with the baby and just want her to have the best life. He just wants to do the right thing for his daughter.”
As for whether the two could reconcile romantically? The source said “relationship-wise, they’re being cautious” — especially given their explosive history.
“They can be toxic together,” the source said. “When things are good, they’re good, but when they’re bad, they’re really bad. When you put two alphas in a room together, they’re going to clash.”
The pair appeared to be amicable while shopping together in Las Vegas in early May as seen in a photo obtained by TMZ. The former couple, whose messy split publicly unfolded over a week earlier, visited the Caesars Palace Forum Shops with their baby girl.
The Jersey Shore star also spent Mother’s Day with his ex, whom he captured in a video on his Instagram Story snuggled in bed with their sleeping daughter.
The MTV star also revealed on Instagram that his daughter had to go to the hospital twice within 24 hours because she wasn’t “feeling well.”
He shared a video on his Instagram Story of himself holding Ariana Sky in his arms while inside of a hospital room with the caption, “#CaliFamilyBeachTripFail At our 2nd hospital in 24 Hours #MyPeanutsNotFeelingWell.”
A source told PEOPLE the infant “was sick this weekend, so it was scary for both of them as new parents.”
“They both dropped everything and came together to care for her,” the insider added.
Breaking Up After Making Up
The on-off again couple split again in May.
“They tried to make it work, but they just set each other off and fight constantly,” a source said.
“It’s better they are apart and they are slowly realizing that. It will be better for their daughter in the end,” said the source.
RELATED VIDEO: ‘Jersey Shore’s’ Ronnie Opens Up About Cheating on Sammi — and Her Decision to Skip the Reboot
Heated Arguments and Physical Altercations
According to multiple reports, the former couple got into a heated argument in early June in Las Vegas.
Officer Jay Rivera of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department told Radar Online that “a battery did take place last night at Planet Hollywood at approximately 9:30 p.m.”
“Police arrived on the scene and did determine that there was unlawful contact against the will of another, in this case, against Mr. Ortiz-Magro,” said Rivera.
According to Rivera, Harley “fled the scene.”
Rivera told Us Weekly that they would “submit a warrant for Domestic Violence to the District Attorney’s office, the D.A. will then determine if they will make it an active warrant.”
TMZ reported that Harley was the one to call police, but when they showed up around 10 p.m. she was nowhere to be found. They reportedly interviewed multiple witnesses and were told that Harley “punched him in the head” and “spit on him.”
Harley, however, insisted she did not get physical with her ex. “I did not hit him, I did not punch him,” she told PEOPLE. “It was all recorded.”
Ortiz-Magro was filming season 2 of Jersey Shore Family Vacation with the rest of the cast in Vegas. A source told PEOPLE that the latest altercation was sparked after Ortiz-Magro stopped by his house to check on the former couple’s dogs and found Harley’s dog dead in the pool.
“He grabbed his dog and put him in a safe spot,” said the source. “Jen thinks he drowned her dog and went crazy trying to find him. She went on a rampage.”
Added the source: “Ron’s done a lot of stupid s— in his life, but he isn’t in the wrong this time.”
A second source told PEOPLE Ortiz-Magro stopped by the house after Harley “was unresponsive to him.”
“This was when he found the deceased dog,” said the source. “He’s devastated over the dog.”
Harley confirmed to PEOPLE that the argument was over the loss of her dog. She said when she got home, both her dogs were missing; Ortiz-Magro informed her that her dog had drowned in the pool and he had taken to get it cremated. Harley said she was baffled as to how this could have occurred since her dog could swim perfectly.
Arrest for Domestic Battery
PEOPLE confirmed that Harley was arrested on June 24.
Online records for the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas show that Harley was arrested for domestic battery. Her bail has been set at $3,000.
According to TMZ, the two got into a fight while driving home from a barbecue. Ortiz-Magro reportedly demanded she pull over and let him out of the car. She allegedly took off when he got caught in his seat belt, dragging her ex and injuring him while their infant daughter was in the car.
MTV had no comment when reached by PEOPLE. A rep for Ortiz-Magro did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment; Harley was unable to be reached.
“Every day she’s changing so much,” he said. “Now, if I stick my tongue out, she’ll stick her tongue back out at me. It’s so cute. I’ve had a lot of blessings in my life, but she is the biggest blessing of all.”