Jennifer Aydin Says 'RHONJ' Season 12 Was 'Pure Agony' After Husband Bill's Affair Came to Light

The affair was brought up during Tuesday’s season 12 premiere of The Real Housewives of New Jersey

Jennifer Aydin is reflecting on filming the latest season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey after it was revealed that her husband Bill had an affair a decade prior.

During the season 12 premiere episode, which aired Tuesday on Bravo, costar Margaret Josephs brought up the affair at Teresa Giudice's pool party, despite the fact that Aydin, 44, says she "told nobody" about Bill's infidelity at the time.

"It was supposed to be in the vault and never brought up again. When I say I told nobody, I didn't tell my mother, I didn't tell my sister, I didn't tell my best friend," Aydin tells PEOPLE, noting that Bill cheated while she was pregnant with their fourth child, Christian, now 10.

"I didn't want anybody to see any type of red flag," she adds. "So I just went through the motions and put on a brave face and did everything I thought a good wife and mother was supposed to do while being crushed inside ultimately."

Eventually, Aydin says she was "happy" pretending it didn't happen and decided that making the affair public would only hurt her children. "And at the end of the day, my children are my number one driving force," she notes.

Jennifer Aydin Bill Aydin
Jennifer Aydin and Bill Aydin. Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Afffair

Though she and Bill are doing well today — "Time heals all wounds," she says — Aydin reveals that his affair being a major plot point on the new season of RHONJ was "pure agony" for her.

"Everything just seemed like it was taking so long filming," she recalls. "The filming season felt like it was long, every day felt like an eternity, every day that I was fighting with these girls and not finding any kind of common ground was just absolute torture. I wanted to be done with it so bad."

"Just because you did a bad thing, doesn't mean you're a bad person. And this is what I've been trying to reiterate to my kids — that when you love someone, people make mistakes, you forgive them if they're truly remorseful," she goes on. "Life is all about learning the lessons and what you do with it."

The reality star admits that filming was somewhat therapeutic for her "because I'm now at a place where I could talk about it without emotionally breaking down and that wasn't always the case," but adds that it was overall a "very hard season."

"It was very traumatic and hurtful for me," Aydin says.

The cast of RHONJ. Rodolfo Martinez/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty

In an interview with PageSix, Aydin also revealed that one of her daughters, 9-year-old Olivia, found out about the affair in a TikTok video that included leaked information about season 12. (In addition to Christian and Olivia, she and Bill also share daughter Gabriella, 14, and sons Justin, 17, and Jacob, 12.)

Aydin said that after seeing the video, Olivia commented, "This is my mommy and daddy and this is not true!" but she later asked her to delete the comment and explained the truth to her.

"I sat her down and I kept my composure because I realized [my kids] will react to however Mommy's acting," she told the outlet. "I put on a brave face and said, 'Listen, Daddy did a bad thing. But that doesn't mean that he's a bad person. And when we love people, we forgive them when they make mistakes. And I've forgiven him and I'm OK.' She wasn't upset because I wasn't upset."

Aydin also said she and Bill have now told all of their kids.

"My husband told Justin. I was in the room, and Justin kind of was almost irritated, like, 'I don't ever want to talk about this ever again.' He's not watching this season," she said. "My Gabriella, she was more crushed. She felt very betrayed and was angry for a bit but we got through that. And my two [younger] boys, they're neither here or there."

The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Bravo.

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