Real Housewives Star Gretchen Has Good & Bad Days Since Fiance's Death
In the season finale of The Real Housewives of Orange County, viewers learned that Gretchen Rossi‘s fiancé Jeff had lost his battle with cancer. Ahead of Tuesday’s reunion show, PEOPLE spoke with Rossi on the phone to find out how she’s doing now, what she thinks of the comments from Housewives Vicki and Tamra that she’s attention hungry and a stalker, if she’ll do another season of Housewives – and whether she’s riding that red hot Harley-Davidson.
How are you holding up?
Every day is a different emotion. I wake up and either I’m happy or I’m really sad so it really just depends on the day. It’s kind of like a moving river there’s always something new that has come to the surface.
What’s your support system?
I have a really great family. They’ve been the ones that have been my main support system and I have a large group of friends that have really been there for me and have helped me through a lot of things as well. I’ve also had a lot of opportunities to distract myself from what went on and one of those things is a huge honor … The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as nominated me as one of the women of the year for 2009. It’s a fun competition between all of the candidates to see who can raise the most money. And I’m going to be starting a foundation in Jeff’s name. So that’s been something that’s really allowed me to keep Jeff’s memory alive.
Do you have any regrets about doing the show during such difficult time?
Of course I do. When Jeff and I agreed to do the show, he was doing really well. We actually thought that he was going to go into remission. His doctors were very optimistic. Unfortunately, cancer has a mind of its own and a month after we started shooting, he got extremely sick. He got pneumonia and had to go back into the hospital. Then the cancer just really started to take over his body more quickly than we could get to it with chemo and everything else we were trying.
Have you heard from supportive fans?
The feedback has been extremely positive. So many that are caretakers have said, “Thank you for showing that you can still go out and live your life, you don’t have to live as if you have the cancer as well.”
What did you make of Vicki and Tamra’s comments in the finale?
It’s really disappointing. I feel like the women didn’t give me – in particular Tamra and Vicki – didn’t give me the opportunity to show them what was really going on between me and Jeff and the love we shared and what the true story was. Unfortunately, they just wanted to believe what they believe. At the end of the day, I know I can’t really help what other people are going to say about me and I’m just going to try and be the same person that I would be in any situation.
What did you make of their allegations that you copied them or stalked them by wanting to have a motorcycle like Tamra or drink the same thing as Vicki?
It’s absolutely hilarious. I have a lot bigger things going on in my life. My fiance was dying of cancer. They acted like I sat around every week just watching to see what Tamra and Vicki had on the show. Last time I checked, I didn’t know that Tamra had the patent on pink, and last time I checked, I didn’t know that the dirty martini was an abnormal drink.
Are you still in touch with the other Housewives?
Jeana and I are very close and Lynne and I have become very good friends. She is misunderstood on the show on some points. She really is a good mom. She has a good heart. She would take the shirt of her back to help another person. Jeana is very much the same way. She’s like a mother hen. She tries to take care of everybody.
What can we look forward to on Tuesday’s reunion show?
I had the opportunity to talk about when Jeff passed away. It was extremely emotional to me and I think that a lot of the viewers probably want to know what happened and if I was with him in his last moments and I was. I talk about that.
Are you now friends with Vicki and Tamra?
I would like to be friends with them and I think that if they gave me the opportunity to get to know me better that they would see me in a different light. But at this point they would not be somebody that I would call a friend.
Have you been riding your bike?
It’s a really big, heavy bike so I’ve only ridden it up and down the driveway. My father is going to teach me how to ride. He said he wanted to do that because he knows that would be special to Jeff. I’m going to go take motorcycle classes and I plan on being on that bike.
Will you do another season of The Real Housewvies of Orange County?
You’re going to have to watch and see what happens.
The Real Housewives Confess: A Watch What Happens Special airs Tuesday (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.