Why Gina Kirschenheiter Debated Reuniting with Her Ex-Husband Before Domestic Violence Charges
"Ultimately, I will regret it if I don't follow my heart, even if this is not the smartest decision," Gina Kirschenheiter said
The Bravo star — who shares daughter Sienna, 5, and sons Nicholas, 7, and Luca, 4 with Matt — told fellow Housewife Tamra Judge that she wasn’t sure whether she would rule out a possibility of getting back together with Matt.
“I don’t want to have any regrets because of my kids,” said Gina, 35. “[But] part of me gets stressed about that because, now what, I’m making the decision whether my family stays together or not?”
“Your heart is like, ‘I want this for you, I want this for me, I want this for us, I want this for our children,’ but then your brain is like, ‘Don’t fall for this romance novel situation,’ ” Gina added. “Ultimately, I will regret it if I don’t follow my heart, even if this is not the smartest decision.”
Gina’s admission came as she was preparing to go to a therapy with Matt.
The night before, he had allegedly shown up at Gina’s house at 1 a.m., uninvited. The two had been fighting, Gina recalled to Tamra, and Gina had blocked his phone number. Not being able to get in touch with her, Matt came over and entered her residence — which she said she forgot to lock — and surprised her.
“He was upstairs in my bedroom,” Gina said. “I didn’t even know he was in the house. Which is really scary.”
Though Gina said it was “alarming” that Matt walked into her home in the middle of the night, she also told audiences “honesty, it also feels good that Matt cares about me.”
She went on to explain that Matt told her he was looking for a new job that would move him back to Orange County from Los Angeles.
“He’s serious,” Gina said.
Still, there was work to be done before Gina made any decision.
“I’m not there at all in any way,” she said on RHOC. “I think that no matter what, it’s good to improve on our relationship. I kind of feel like maybe it’ll be the kind of thing where we just find out we’re not supposed to be with each other in an amicable way.”
The therapy would help, she said. “We obviously have a lot of issues and it’s better to discuss those issues in a fake environment so that we don’t fight about them and hopefully we can work some of them out,” Gina shared.
College sweethearts, Gina and Matt were together for 11 years and married for eight before separating in April 2018 and filing for divorce.
Initially, Gina insisted that the two had grown apart, were parting on good terms and would be co-parenting together — telling PEOPLE last September that Matt was still her “best friend” and “the most important person to me.”
They even appeared to reconcile in June, with Gina posting a loving message to Matt on his birthday and insisting, “I’m your person and you’re mine.”
But days later, on June 22, the two had a heated argument at Gina’s home in which Matt allegedly choked her, hit her, dragged her, threw her and threatened to kill her — all while their three young kids were sleeping in the other room, according to court documents obtained by The Blast. Cops were called after Gina ran to the the neighbors for help, and Matt was arrested.
A temporary restraining order was granted at that same time. In the paperwork for that, Gina alleged that there had been “other incidents that have scared [her] in the past … too many to remember,” including an argument in August 2018 involving a shotgun.
Gina has also claimed on this season of RHOC that Matt cheated on her and was still in a relationship with the woman.
Matt has also not responded to Gina’s cheating allegations, but in September, pleaded not guilty after the Orange County District Attorney’s Office slapped him with two felony charges for the alleged incident.
If convicted, he would face up to four years imprisonment for domestic violence, and an additional three for false imprisonment.
According to documents obtained by TMZ, Matt allegedly “inflicted corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition” upon Gina. He was also charged with false imprisonment, for allegedly grabbing Gina and dragging her on the pavement back into the house after she fled for support.
“The charges are just that, they’re just allegations,” Matt’s attorney, Ed Welbourn, told PEOPLE in a statement. “These type of cases, domestic violence type cases when there are are no independent witnesses, it’s a 1:1 situation and it really comes down to a credibility call.”
Welbourn continued: “Matt is a great dad, always has been. He’s a hardworking guy, has always provided for them. He’s an incredibly good person, and he’s very respected in the community. There’s also a divorce proceeding going on, he has unmonitored visitation — a decision that was made before this alleged incident. If Gina or the judge thought he was a danger, they would have not agreed to that. He’s not a violent person, he doesn’t have a history of that. He maintains his innocence and looks forward to the truth coming out and his day in court.”
Matt and Gina are still working through the terms of their ongoing divorce with the legal system.
In August, the two appeared to have come to a custody agreement, with Gina getting primary physical custody of their kids and nearly $10,000 in monthly support (they’d share legal custody, and Matt would see the kids on the weekends).
The two agreed to take one counseling co-parenting class per month together, too, and said they wouldn’t disparage each other in front of their kids or on RHOC. Future boyfriends/girlfriends wouldn’t be introduced to the kids without consulting with the other first, they determined.
But that same month, Matt filed court documents obtained by PEOPLE saying that his arrest had led to a “forced resignation” from his job as a financial account manager — the same job that wouldn’t allow him to appear on RHOC in the first place (he’s never been seen on the show).
Matt’s change in employment status, he claimed, meant that he was no longer making the income necessary to pay Gina. Her RHOC salary made her the primary moneymaker, he said.
RELATED: RHOC‘s Gina Kirschenheiter Calls New Boyfriend ‘Extremely Trustworthy’ Amid Ongoing Divorce
As they wait to figure that out, Gina still has compassion for Matt
“There is a part of my heart that feels bad for Matt because he wasn’t really a part of this to begin with and he’s not a monster,” Gina said back in September, during a visit to PEOPLE Now. “It’s an emotional time, and people make mistakes. He’s made a lot of them, obviously.”
She went on to stress that she and Matt’s disagreements aren’t over their children.
“There is actually no custody battle, there really is not,” she said. “Even with things going on with Matt, as they are now, he actually has more custody than he’s ever had because he’s not employed anymore, so he’s around.”
“We’re really good on that,” she said, adding that their kids are doing well. “I would never keep the kids from him. He’s a really good dad.”
Gina has also started a new relationship with boyfriend Travis Mullen.
“We just really clicked from very early on,” she told PEOPLE Now. “We have the same perspective on a lot stuff and a lot of the same values. We really make each other laugh. We’re both just goofballs. It works.”
“I just know he’s a person that’s extremely trustworthy, extremely loyal,” she said.
The Real Housewives of Orange County airs Tuesdays (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.