"Do it," Teresa Giudice was seen telling Danielle Staub on Wednesday's Real Housewives of New Jersey, before Staub's infamous attack

By Dave Quinn
February 19, 2020 09:00 PM
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It looks like there was more to Danielle Staub‘s infamous pull of Margaret Josephs‘ ponytail than Real Housewives of New Jersey fans originally saw.

On Wednesday’s episode of the long-running Bravo reality series, Staub told fellow New Jersey Housewife Melissa Gorga that during their headline-making fight a few weeks earlier, she was encouraged to tug at Josephs’ hair by two surprising individuals: designer Steven Dann, whose boutique the women were shooting in, and Josephs’ castmate and friend, Teresa Giudice.

As she explained, she didn’t plan 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, after first blaming the move on an abundance of alcohol. “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.’ ”

“So Teresa told you to pull her hair?” Gorga, 40, asked in disbelief.

“Yes,” Staub, 57, confidently said.

Previously unseen production footage then backed-up Staub’s claim, the clip showing Dann laughing as Giudice egged on Staub.

“He wants me to pull her ponytail,” Staub whispered in Giudice’s ear in the clip, with a laugh.

“Yeah, you should,” Giudice, 47, 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!”

Teresa Giudice, Danielle Staub, and Margaret Josephs
| Credit: Daniel Zuchnik/Getty; Bruce Glikas/Getty; Ben Gabbe/Getty

The rest, as they say, is history. Staub pulled Josephs’ ponytail, giving RHONJ one of its most talked-about moments since Giudice’s table flip 10 years ago. And Giudice famously stood by Staub after the fight, causing tension between her and Josephs, who had begged Giudice to choose sides.

It is very painful for me to relive,” Josephs, 52, said of the fight with Staub, before the episode aired. “The energy that day frightened me and to this day it still does.”

“I have never hit anyone nor did I after being pushed or being assaulted from behind,” Josephs added. “What I did do after a half hour of a brutal back and forth with my personal space being invaded was to pour water on someone who was clearly looking to assault me and push me into a physical altercation.”

Josephs went on to deny claims that she “deserved” or “asked” for Staub’s offense, stressing that she was “attacked” by Staub “a full 12 minutes after the fact, from behind.”

My neck was snapped back, and easily could have been broken,” said Josephs. “I could not defend myself. I could have been paralyzed. Everyone was crying, including production. It was horrific. I wanted to forget [and] move on. To this day, [I’m] devastated.”

Staub, for her part, has stood by her actions. “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.”

RELATED: Teresa Giudice Stands by Former Rival Danielle Staub’s Side After RHONJ Ponytail-Pulling Fiasco

Since then, Staub has announced she’s leaving RHONJ, revealing on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen that she would “never” return to the series that made her a star (and that she helped made a success).

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!”

“I wish her well,” Giudice added. “We did have fun together, she’s funny, and she’s a good time to go out with. And I’m all about that. That’s what it was about. You never know what happens in the future but you’ll understand when you watch.”

The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Wednesdays (8 p.m. ET) on Bravo.