Plus, find out how the reality star and business owner is juggling three kids at home during the coronavirus pandemic

By Aurelie Corinthios
May 07, 2020 01:07 PM
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Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi

It's the end of an era: This season of Jersey Shore: Family Vacation will be Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi's last.

The reality star announced last December that she was retiring from the beloved MTV reality show, which was rebooted in 2018. In an interview with PEOPLE, Polizzi, 32, opens up about the decision — and clarifies that her TV career isn't over yet.

"I needed to move on," she says. "It's just not for me anymore. Drama has never been my thing. Especially now, I don't want to leave my kids and not see them for days on end to do that. I want to leave and have a good time with my friends and roomies, and then come home and be a mom. So this season was very stressful, and I just wasn't having fun. I want to do something that's more uplifting in my life."

Polizzi — who shares daughter Giovanna, 5, and sons Lorenzo, 7 and Angelo, 1 this month, with husband Jionni LaValle — says her costars initially tried to stop her, but eventually "accepted" her decision.

"When they first realized I was serious about quitting, they all hit me up one by one trying to change my mind," she said. "But I was like, 'No, I can't, I just can't do it anymore.' They understand now."

Credit: Lou Rocco/ABC /Getty

She still talks to them "every single day" via group chat, and predicts that the show will continue on without her.

"When Sam [Sammi "Sweetheart" Giancola] left, we were still going strong. So even though I'm leaving, there are still a lot of pieces to that family and every single one of us plays a huge role," she says. "Just because I'm leaving doesn't mean the show is going to end."

"And I'm definitely not done with TV," adds the star, who also hosts a podcast, It's Happening with Snooki & Joey. "I'm just done with that show. I want to do something that's fun and entertaining. I'm actually in talks about doing other shows right now, maybe hosting some things."

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But with most TV productions currently halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, these days, Polizzi is hunkered down at home with her family. She's also running her online retail business, The Snooki Shop, and doing curbside pickups from a distance at her storefront in Madison, New Jersey. And like most parents working remotely, she's surrounded by chaos.

"My household is definitely crazy," she says. "Just trying to get the kids' schoolwork done and clean the house and survive is a lot. It's literally all about the kids, and I don't have time to even think about myself or shower or do anything."

When they can, she and her hubby make sure to squeeze in some quality time together.

"Obviously, we want to make sure the kids are good and they get everything done. But also, we try to have our alone time as much as possible," she says of LaValle, 33. "So we usually do shifts with the kids, or we'll have the kids go play and then we can relax and be adults together. Our routine as parents has been amazing so far."

"I always say, if I never did the show, I never would have met Jionni, and then we never would have got married and had our beautiful family," she says. "So I'm always so thankful for that."

Jersey Shore: Family Vacation airs Thursdays (8 p.m. ET) on MTV.