#Jerzdays are back — but not for Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola.
On Thursday, MTV debuted the two-hour season premiere of the Jersey Shore revival, Jersey Shore Family Vacation, which reunites the original housemates — minus Sammi — for a wild few weeks in Miami. Sammi, 31, opted out of the reboot to avoid “potentially toxic situations,” presumably referring to her ex Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, 32. (Their tumultuous on-again, off-again relationship lasted eight years, three of which were captured on the original run of Jersey Shore from 2009-12.)
Of course, much of the premiere focused on Sammi’s absence, with quite a few jokes being made at her expense — mostly stemming from the fact that Pauly “DJ Pauly D” DelVecchio brought in a custom, life-size doll wearing an “I’m in a really good place” shirt and designed to look and talk just like her. (“Rahhhhhnnnn! Staaaaahhhhp!“)
But indeed, Sammi does appear to be a in good place: She’s been dating a fellow New Jersey native, Christian Biscardi, for the last year. On Thursday, he took to Instagram to dedicate a sweet, supportive post in her honor.
“In today’s world, it’s nearly impossible to come across someone with the elegance and class that this person does (not me, the pretty one on the left),” he captioned a selfie of the two. “She truly has the biggest heart out of anyone I have ever met and deserves all of the good things in life. So, here’s a #tbt of my hair and my best friend.”
Sammi, meanwhile, thanked fans for their outpouring of support.
“I love you all,” she wrote on her Instagram story, adding a heart and a “You Rock” emoji.
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So what do Sammi’s former roomies think of her decision to skip out on the reboot? Opening up to PEOPLE in this week’s issue, they all agreed that they were disappointed, but supportive — even Ronnie. (And he’s certainly moved on as well: He welcomed his first child, a baby girl, with girlfriend Jen Harley on Tuesday.)
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“On the one hand, it sucked because we all started this together so we wanted to end it together,” he said. “But at the same time, it worked out better for me because it was just less drama for the house. Less fighting and bickering. Who really wants to live in a house with their ex? That’s just the most uncomfortable feeling in the world.”
“She’s chosen a path in her life and she closed the door on Jersey Shore,” he added. “That was one chapter in her life, and now she’s opened up another one, and she has a boyfriend and she’s really happy and that’s a decision that she made. And us as a family and as castmates and friends that have known her for so long, we’re just going to support whatever she does.”
Jersey Shore Family Vacation airs Thursdays (8 p.m. ET) on MTV.