"The matter is is that she was so desperate to be engaged for the show that she bought the ring herself," Slade Smiley alleged

By Natalie Stone
March 10, 2020 09:09 PM
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Real Housewives of Orange County alum Slade Smiley is responding to ex-fiancée Jo De La Rosa’s claim that he proposed with a “fake” engagement ring.

Four months after De La Rosa, 39, alleged that Smiley, 46, popped the question years ago with a “placeholder” diamond, Smiley is sharing his side of the story.

In a PEOPLE exclusive clip from Wednesday’s episode of Smiley and his fiancée Gretchen Rossi‘s Knot Too Taboo podcast, the former RHOC star claims that De La Rosa purchased the ring herself.

“So apparently my ex is out doing the rounds of press — and this is someone that I have not been in a relationship with for 14 years, at least 14 years. She appeared on a podcast of another Bravolebrity and thought that she would bring up a topic in what she called spilling some tea and she made the accusation that her engagement ring back from the day was fake. I think that’s hilarious because the truth of the matter is is that she was so desperate to be engaged for the show that she bought the ring herself. So for some reason you’re having an issue with the quality of the ring, it’s kind of on you, sister,” Smiley claims.

“Not to mention it’s 14 years ago,” says Smiley, who goes on to allege that De La Rosa “has been calling around and is trying to get themselves back on Housewives.” (Bravo had no comment about any potential return for De La Rosa.)

Jo De La Rosa and Slade Smiley

In a statement to PEOPLE on Tuesday, De La Rosa said, “There are no press rounds. Slade was the love of my life and it breaks my heart he’s starting a war over a mistake I made in an interview admitting to something that should’ve been kept between us. I’ve never done anything but defend him as a father in every interview and I will continue to defend him even through this. If this is the version of the story he wants to continue to spin, there’s nothing I can do about that. I don’t want to drag his name through the mud.”

“I publicly apologized about my comment in my podcast interview last week so he knew there were no malicious attempt behind it. I know they just had a little girl and I’ve been doing nothing but wishing them well in interviews when his name is brought up to me. I continue to wish them well,” she concluded.

Back in November, De La Rosa — whose relationship with Smiley was documented on Housewives, on which she appeared for the first two seasons — sat down with Bravo star Jeff Lewis for his Sirius XM podcast, where she revealed that the ring “is gone.”

“It was a placeholder,” De La Rosa explained about the diamond. “And the center stone was supposed to be changed into the future. But we never got there, obviously.”

“So the ring was fake?” asked Lewis.

“Yes,” said De La Rosa.

De La Rosa said she “knew from when he gave it to me,” that it was fake. “He wanted to get me — obviously he couldn’t.”

She went on to say that “it was the thought that counted for me.”

In the Knot Too Taboo clip, Rossi, 41, says about De La Rosa discussing her past engagement ring: “It’s so weird to me that that’s even being brought up now.”

Credit: Charley Gallay/WireImage;

The mother of one, who welcomed daughter Skylar Gray with Smiley in July 2019, then goes on to claim that “Jo and I and Slade have a mutual friend and what’s so funny about this story is that literally like a month, no less than a month earlier, she was literally on the phone with her friend telling them, ‘Oh my gosh, you know, I’m so happy for Gretchen and Slade … I just want to like bury the hatchet with them,’ like claiming all these things that she’s now been claiming for a couple years.”

“And there’s no hatchet to bury,” says Smiley.