Kelly Bensimon Says Danielle Staub 'Deserves a Second Chance'

Photo: Jackson Lee/Splash News Online; Amanda Schwab/Star

The Real Housewives of New Jersey star Danielle Staub, whose sordid past was dug up on the show, is getting some sympathy from her New York neighbors, including troublemaker Kelly Bensimon.

“Everybody deserves a second chance,” Bensimon told PEOPLE at Wednesday’s 34th Annual Women in Radio & Television’s Gracie Awards in New York. “If you’ve made a mistake in life, you have two choices, you can either sit in the Lazy-Boy and eat popcorn and talk about it, or you can get out and do something fun. And I think that’s what she’s doing. I like her courage.”

Bensimon’s outspoken costar Jill Zarin said she feels sorry for Stuab, whose mug shot and arrest record was the subject of a book, Cop Without a Badge, discovered by her costars.

“This is something that happened a long time ago. It’s dead and buried in her real life, and it should never have been brought up,” Zarin said. “But because she’s on a reality show, if you’ve been arrested and have a record, it’s going to come out. If you’re divorced, it’s going to come out. If you’ve lied about things, it’s going to come out. I think she should have known that.”

As for how it all might affect Staub’s daughters Christine and Jillian, Zarin says what she did in past isn’t as bad as what she’s doing in the present. “There are so many other things her kids should be upset with her about,” said Zarin, “like asking a 25-year-old to come into the bathroom with her and profanity when they were out by the restaurant, which I’m not a big fan of.”

When asked about the Jersey gal’s recent Botox soiree, Zarin said, “Eh! Of course I saw it. Horrible. First of all, I loved when Teresa Giudice admitted that the only reason she showed up is because it was free. I love when are honest.”

New York‘s Alex McCord, who had nude photos of herself surface on the Internet, was also sympathetic to Staub. “I hope she knew that when you go on a reality show, everything that ever happened in your past is going to come straight up,” she said.

Of course, McCord’s husband Simon van Kempen also had an opinion. “She made some mistakes, but she was very young. It was the innocence of youth,” he said at Gracie Awards gala. “Franklin Lakes, N.J., is thirty miles from where we’re standing. But it could be 300 — 3,000 miles. It’s such a different show than New York.”

The Countess LuAnn de Lesseps recalled meeting Staub: “She walk up to me at a Reality Cares party and said, ‘Countess, we have to talk.’ And I looked at her and said, ‘About what? What could we possibly have to talk about?’ But maybe she wanted my advice,” said de Lesseps, who is splitting with her husband. “In retrospect, I think maybe she really needed to talk to me. Maybe she was going to ask me who my lawyer is. I think if I had that kind of a past, an arrest, if I had any skeletons in my closet, I don’t think I’d be on a reality show.” — Jeffrey SlonimJackson Lee/Splash News Online; Amanda Schwab/Star

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