RHOC's Gina Kirschenheiter Cries Over Husband's Alleged Domestic Abuse: 'I Was Really Scared'
The Real Housewives of Orange County season 14 reunion came to an emotional climax on Thursday, as Gina Kirschenheiter opened up about the alleged domestic abuse incident that proved to be the final straw in her marriage to longtime love Matt Kirschenheiter.
In the third installment of the reunion, Gina, 35, broke down into tears recalling the details of the alleged attack, which she says occurred back on June 22 — a month after RHOC cameras had stopped filming.
At the time, Gina and Matt had reconciled, the pair giving their 11-year relationship and 8-year marriage another try after previously separating in April 2018 and filing for divorce.
As Gina explained on RHOC, she was motivated to try again with Matt for the sake of their three kids (daughter Sienna, 5, and sons Nicholas, 7, and Luca, 4).
All appeared to be going well, with Gina even posting about their reunion on Instagram. But on June 22, the two had a heated argument at Gina’s home, where 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 her allegations contained in court documents obtained by The Blast. He has denied the allegations.
“He just was like a different person,” Gina said on Thursday’s RHOC reunion. “I was really scared. I ran out of the house, and I rang my neighbor’s doorbell, and I was banging on the door. And he dragged me back in the house.”
“A lot of the neighbors heard. They all called the police and then the cops came, they arrested him,” Gina said, through tears. “It was scary. It was really scary.”
Matt was charged with two felonies for the alleged incident by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office for allegedly grabbing Gina and dragging her on the pavement back into the house after she fled. If convicted, he faces up to four years imprisonment for domestic violence and up to an additional three for false imprisonment.
He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. “The charges are just that, they’re just allegations,” Matt’s attorney, Ed Welbourn, previously 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.”
Added Welbourn: “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. … He is 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.”
Though Matt’s lawyer claimed Matt had not had a history of violence in the past, Gina alleged otherwise in the paperwork for a temporary restraining order that was granted back in June.
In those docs, 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.
Additionally, she told RHOC reunion host Andy Cohen on Thursday that the two got into “an incident” on the morning of June 22, hours before the cops were involved.
“I asked him to leave, it was bad,” said Gina of that incident. “And then he was all, ‘I’m so sorry’ and I was like, ‘Fine.'”
Gina and Matt had plans to “go out that evening with friends for a friend’s birthday,” Gina remembered, adding that she “knew it was probably a bad decision,” but went anyway.
“We actually had a great night,” said Gina. “There was alcohol involved, there always is when bad things happen. And we were Ubering home, and he got angry over something, I don’t even know what. The driver pulled over, he gets kicked out. He calls me, he’s like, ‘I can’t get another Uber, you’re in my Uber.’ I was like, ‘Okay, I’m pulling up in two minutes.’ And then I went into the house and went to bed thinking, ‘He’s just going to call another Uber.’ ”
But Matt wasn’t able to call another Uber, Gina said, because his cell phone died. Instead, he walked to her house. “And so the whole time he’s walking home, he’s also getting himself worked up, worked up, worked up,” Gina said. “He’s pissed. And then he gets to the house and he got up somehow on the second level and that was it.”
Despite their alleged fight, Gina told Cohen that she still had compassion for Matt — adding that Matt had “immediately” apologized the next day and even sent her flowers.
“I do feel bad, because I feel like he cracks,” she said. “And I do feel that some of this is because of the show. He knew at this point that I had shared a lot of this on the show, and it’s not an excuse, but it’s really hard.”
“I look at myself like a strong person, but I just think I’m always like, ‘I can hold it together,’ and thought I could handle everything,” Gina said. “And, I don’t know, I didn’t see it. I thought it was normal.”
Gina said similar things about Matt back in September, during a visit to PEOPLE Now.
“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. “It’s an emotional time, and people make mistakes. He’s made a lot of them, obviously.”
She went on to stress that her 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.”
Since the alleged incident, Gina and Matt have been co-parenting amicably while they work out a formal custody agreement.
Gina has also moved on in love, going Instagram official with boyfriend Travis Mullen.
“I just know that it’s so better that we’re not together,” she told Cohen, of herself and Matt. “I don’t even want anything. I just want out.”
She added, of Mullen: “I feel very lucky now. Now I know what it feels to really be loved and how you should be treated and I have so much more of an appreciation for it.”