RHONJ's Jennifer Aydin Defends Teresa Giudice Over 'Brutal' Ponytail-Pulling Incident
During Wednesday’s episode, previously unseen footage showed that both Giudice, 47, and designer Steven Dann, whose boutique the women were filming in, encouraged cast member Danielle Staub‘s infamous pull of Margaret Josephs‘ ponytail from a few weeks ago.
After the episode aired, Aydin, 42, came to Giudice’s defense on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen.
“I felt bad for Teresa, honestly, I did,” Aydin said. “I know why she said what she said and I know why she did it. We spoke about it at reunion, so I don’t want to give anything away, but she didn’t know it was going to be that brutal.”
“At the end of the day, I guess you could think, ‘How could pulling someone’s hair not be brutal?’ But she really did drag she across the room and nobody was expecting that,” she continued. “By the time we turned around, Margaret was halfway across the room and it was brutal.”
Staub, 57, first revealed Giudice’s involvement in the hair-tugging incident to Melissa Gorga on Wednesday’s episode. As Staub explained, she hadn’t planned on ever physically attacking Josephs, who had poured a bottle of water on her head earlier during their tense war of words. In fact, she felt the two were “even” when she poured the contents of Josephs’ purse onto a lit candle.
“I was … influenced,” Staub told Gorga, 40. “I was done when I emptied Margaret’s bag in the candle. I was finished, but then Steven told me I should go pull her hair. When Steven said, ‘Do it,’ I hesitated and then I looked at Teresa and she said, ‘Yeah, do it.'”
Previously unseen production footage backed up Staub’s claim, as a clip rolled of Dann laughing as Giudice egged on Staub.
“He wants me to pull her ponytail,” Staub whispered in Giudice’s ear with a laugh.
“Yeah, you should,” Giudice said back to Staub — who quickly wrote off the idea by saying, “I can’t.”
But Giudice insisted. “Yes!” she said, giddily getting in Staub’s face. “Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it!”
As fans recall, Staub did go ahead and yank Josephs’ ponytail, and Giudice famously stood by Staub after the fight, causing tension between her and Josephs.
Staub has stood by her actions ever since.
“I feel like she should have been taught that lesson a long time ago,” she said of Josephs on the RHONJ after-show. “She crosses every boundary of mine; every line, every boundary. You know how many people have asked me, why haven’t I done anything to her sooner? Not just ask me, been adamant about it! Almost mad about me that I haven’t. It’s just not in me. But I guess you poke at somebody long enough … I was backed into a corner and I just — I was done.”
Asked if she had any regrets, Staub said, “Hell no,” stressing, “My only regret is not doing it sooner.”
Since then, Staub has announced she’s leaving RHONJ, revealing on WWHL that she would “never” return to the series.
As for her friendship with Giudice? That’s fallen apart, too.
“We’re no longer friends now,” Giudice told PEOPLE during a visit to PEOPLE Now earlier this month. “You have to watch the rest of the season to see how it plays out. … She never did anything to me, but then watch the show, you’ll see what she does to me, and now we’re not friends anymore.”
The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Wednesdays (8 p.m. ET) on Bravo.