Margaret Josephs Is Hopeful for Reconciliation with Estranged Kids: 'I Know They Don't Hate Me'
It's been over six years since Margaret Josephs has spoken to her stepchildren, but the Real Housewives of New Jersey star is hopeful a reconciliation will happen one day
“I know they don’t hate me,” Margaret tells PEOPLE. “They’re holding a grudge. And it doesn’t make it any easier. But I know in my heart we’ll find a way back to one another. I’d die over them.”
“It’s an ache no one can fill. It’s heart-wrenching,” she continues. “They were my whole life.We had every Sunday dinner, bar mitzvahs. … Not knowing what they’re up to, it’s so weird. I pray every day and I write to them constantly. It’s not like they don’t acknowledge me with thank yous. But it’s just not the same.”
Margaret first spoke out about their relationship on a November episode of RHONJ, where she broke down into tears during a candid sit-down with fellow New Jersey Housewife Dolores Catania.
“You know when they say time heals all wounds? It doesn’t,” she said then of her stepchildren from her first marriage to ex-husband Jan Josephs, whom Margaret married in 1994 when she was 24. “There’s always that piece missing.”
Being 20 years older than she, Jan had three children from a previous marriage — ages 8, 14 and 16 — and had full custody of his kids.
“They needed someone to love them and I was completely obsessed with them,” Margaret recalled of the three, who are now 38, 40 and 42. “And then we had my son [now 21] and they were my entire life.”
Unfortunately, her decision to leave Jan in 2013 for new husband Joe Benigno added tension between Margaret and her stepchildren. Though her son still communicates with his half-siblings, Margaret hasn’t.
“I’m sorry the way it went down,” Margaret admits to PEOPLE. “But no one leaves a happy marriage. It’s not like Joe walked in and he was some hot muscly guy and it was lust. It wasn’t like that. Our marriage was way over before Joe walked in the picture. Jan knows what happened, and we’re good friends … we’re still a team.”
“It’s hard for him,” she adds for Jan of the estrangement. “He knows I’m heartbroken. I’m constantly like, ‘Jan, do something.’ And he’s like, ‘They don’t listen to me.’ ”
On Wednesday’s all-new episode, Margaret approached Jan to ask him just that. While he didn’t make excuses for his kids, he also remained hopeful that one day they would be able to be a united family again.
“It will be [okay],” he said.
The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Wednesdays (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.