The Real Housewives of New Jersey (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
The Real Housewives of New Jersey is an American reality television series that debuted on May 12, 2009, and airs on Bravo. It is the network's fourth installation of The Real Housewives franchise. The Real Housewives of New Jersey chronicles the lives of five women in and around several communities in northern New Jersey.
The Real Housewives of New Jersey was first announced when Bravo released its 2008-2009 programming on April 15, 2008. It was later announced that the series would debut on May 12, 2009, with Caroline Manzo, Jacqueline Laurita, Teresa Giudice, Dina Manzo, and Danielle Staub as the cast. For the first time in the franchise, the series followed housewives who are related to one another: sisters Caroline and Dina are married to brothers Albert and Tommy Manzo, and Jacqueline Laurita is married to Caroline and Dina's brother, Chris Laurita. Dina and Tommy Manzo would later end up divorced. With the first season averaging 2.55 million total viewers, Bravo announced the renewal of the second season on October 6, 2009. The second season premiered on May 3, 2010, with Dina Manzo departing the series after the seventh episode of the season. Part 1 of the second season reunion gathered 3.9 million viewers, making it the highest-rated episode of the season " at the time " of its airing and the second highest rated episode of the franchise after the January 30, 2011, episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Both of these milestones would be surpassed in future seasons or by fellow Real Housewives series.
The third season renewal was announced on August 31, 2010. It was later revealed on September 7, 2010, that Danielle Staub would not returning to the show. Season 3 premiered on May 16, 2011, with a 90-minute episode as well as new housewives Melissa Gorga and Kathy Wakile. The third season delivered the highest rated season premiere in the network's history and the highest rated season premiere in The Real Housewives franchise but was later surpassed by The Real Housewives of Atlanta. After season 3, The Real Housewives of New Jersey was the only The Real Housewives series within the franchise that features a main cast who are all married until The Real Housewives of Miami also met the criteria starting with its third season. Season 4 was announced on June 7, 2011, with the fourth season premiering on April 22, 2012. All of the Season 3 housewives returned. Bravo announced that the fifth season would premiere June 2, 2013, with same cast returning. Kim DePaola joined the fifth season as a "Friend of the Housewives". The fifth season reunion was filmed on September 4, 2013, and took 15 hours to complete.
Teresa Giudice (née Gorga) (born May 18, 1972) was born and raised in New Jersey. Her parents immigrated from Italy and raised Teresa and her brother Giuseppe, also known as Joe, in an Italian Catholic home. She grew up in Paterson, New Jersey where she met her husband of more than ten years, Joe. Teresa has four daughters"Gia (born on January 8, 2001), Gabriella (born on October 4, 2004), Milania (born on February 2, 2006) and baby Audriana (born on September 14, 2009).
After graduating from Berkeley College with a degree in Fashion Marketing and Management, Giudice worked as an associate buyer for Macy's in New York before deciding to stay home with her children. She owns an online boutique, TG Fabulicious, and has co-authored three successful Italian cookbooks, each of which is a New York Times Best Seller. The first, Skinny Italian, a lifestyle title that teaches authentic, healthy Italian cooking, was published May 4, 2010, her second cookbook, Fabulicious, was published May 3, 2011, and Giudice's third cookbook, Fabulicious!: Fast & Fit, was released on May 8, 2012. Giudice has also created her own line of Bellini called Fabellini, along with a haircare line named Youthful 8 Milania Collection.
Fabulicious cookbook caused a dispute with fellow cast mate Caroline Manzo after Giudice wrote that Caroline was "1/16th Italian" and "as Italian as the Olive Garden". The dispute spilled into the third season reunion, where Manzo also accused Giudice of causing the issues between Caroline and her sister, Dina, who are no longer on speaking terms, an accusation that both Dina Manzo and Teresa Giudice have denied. Additionally, she is a committee member for her former co-star, Dina Manzo's charity, Project Ladybug. On February 19, 2012, Giudice was a cast member on season 12 of Celebrity Apprentice. She was fired on May 6, 2012 (episode 12), placing fifth after raising $60,000 for her charity, The NephCure Foundation.
On July 29, 2013, Giudice and her husband, Giuseppe "Joe" Giudice, were charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications and bankruptcy fraud in a 39-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury. The indictment also charges Joe with failure to file tax returns for tax years 2004 through 2008, during which time he allegedly earned nearly $1 million.
Specifically, the Giudices were charged with (a) Conspiracy to Commit Mail and Wire Fraud, (b) Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, (c) Making False Statements on Loan Applications, (d) Bankruptcy Fraud, (e) Failure to File Tax Returns. If convicted, each spouse could face a maximum prison sentence of 20 or 30 years. Teresa's attorney says she will plead not guilty. A spokesman for Bravo had no comment.
The couple were each released on $500,000 bond each after their July 30, 2013, court date. The Giudices did not enter pleas and an arraignment was set for August 14, 2013. They had to surrender their passports and can not travel outside of New Jersey and New York. Joe Giudice, a citizen of Italy but not the United States, has the possibility of being deported to his home country if convicted.
Caroline Manzo (née Laurita) (born August 23, 1961) has been married for over 27 years to Albert Manzo, co-owner of The Brownstone, an event and catering facility in Paterson, New Jersey. Albert Manzo's brother, Tommy Manzo, is the second husband of Manzo's sister and former cast mate, Dina Manzo, making the two sisters by both marriage and blood.
The couple have three children: Albert "Albie" Manzo IV (born May 27, 1986), Lauren Manzo (born April 12, 1988), and Christopher Manzo (born May 25, 1989). Manzo is the owner of two businesses: Opus Properties, a real estate firm, and a children's accessories line. In addition, she serves on the board of her sister Dina's charity foundation, Project Ladybug. In season 4, she is also portrayed partnering with daughter Lauren in a boutique store. It was rumored that Manzo was not going to return for season 5, but these rumors were confirmed false by fellow cast member Melissa Gorga.
It was announced on September 17, 2013, that Bravo has green-lit a pilot titled Manzo"d with Children. It will follow Manzo and her Italian family that includes her husband Albert, daughter Lauren, and sons Albie and Chris, who have all been a featured on The Real Housewives since its premiere. Manzo's sister, Fran, who made an appearance in the fifth season along with her pet pig, will also be included.
(Season 1 - present)
Jacqueline Laurita (née Grippe) born April 26, 1970 is a stay-at-home mother married to Chris Laurita, brother of Caroline and Dina Manzo. Together, Jacqueline and Chris have two sons: Christopher "C.J." Laurita, Jr. (born in 2002) and Nicholas Laurita (born June 11, 2009). Jacqueline also has a daughter, Ashlee Holmes (born Ashley on December 1, 1990), from a previous marriage. After several miscarriages and fertility problems, which she discussed on the show, Laurita gave birth to Nicholas shortly after the Season 1 Reunion show. In 2012, Laurita revealed that Nicholas had been diagnosed with autism.
Her father, Jerome "Jerry" Grippe, was an Army colonel, and Jacqueline moved with her family to locations such as South Korea, Germany and Virginia; she graduated from Chantilly High School in Chantilly, Virginia in 1988. Jacqueline spent most of her adult life in Las Vegas, where her parents reside. In "How I Met Chris", Jacqueline describes the roles her father (who was senior vice president of operations at the Riviera Hotel and Casino, his then-coworker Steve Schirripa, and a fellow convention model played in her meeting her husband in 1996 at a Chicago sporting goods trade show, their courtship, and jobs she held at Lancome and as a licensed cosmetologist, convention and product model, on-call cocktail waitress for Samston hotel and casino, and freelance makeup artist.
During Season 2, the majority of drama around Jacqueline involved teenage daughter, Ashley. The drama led up to one of the most infamous moments in the show's history; Ashley pulled Housewife Danielle Staub's hair, causing Staub to slap Jacqueline's daughter with a lawsuit.
Shortly following Season 3, Jacqueline had a dramatic falling out with cast member and longtime friend Teresa Giudice. The feud consisted of a long Twitter war, which ended with Laurita's referring to Giudice as "scum" and claiming that Giudice had stabbed her in the back several times. The falling out was so volatile that Laurita decided not to attend the season 3 reunion.
Main article: Melissa Gorga
(Season 3 - present)
Melissa Gorga (née Marco, born March 21, 1979) is married to Giuseppe (Joe) Gorga, who is the younger brother of Teresa Giudice. Melissa and Joe have three children: Antonia, Gino, and Joey. Melissa, who in the past has worked as a teacher, has parlayed her fame from Real Housewives into a music career. Her single, "On Display", was released on iTunes dance chart selections on August 13, 2011, to mixed critical reviews. Gorga has stated that she continues to work on her music and has released several new singles, which have been previewed on several Season 4 episodes, as well as a four-track EP. As of July 5, 2012, she has released two additional singles on iTunes: "How Many Times", released Apr 29, 2012, and "Rockstar", released June 10, 2012. Melissa is an ambassador for Voli Light Vodka, which bills itself a low-calorie vodka.
Main article: Kathy Wakile
(Season 3 - present)
Katherina "Kathy" Wakile (née Pierri, born October 4, 1965) resides in Wayne, New Jersey with her husband of 21 years, Richard "Richie" Wakile, and their two children, Victoria (born 1994) and Joseph (born 1996). Her family is very close to that of her cousin Joe Gorga (Teresa Guidice's brother) and his wife, fellow Housewife Melissa Gorga. Unlike her other castmates, Kathy is not married to an Italian-American. Her husband, Rich, is Lebanese-American. Kathy focuses her time on her culinary interest and has plans to open her own restaurant or catering business. Kathy has had several arguments with her cousin Teresa throughout season three of the show and is often dragged into feuds between Teresa and Teresa's sister-in-law Melissa. Kathy has introduced several new product lines since joining the show such as her cannoli kit. Additionally, she and Victoria frequently participate in events that raise awareness for brain cancer, an illness they take close to heart, as Victoria needed an operation to remove a benign brain tumor; this incident was discussed during the third season of the series.
(Season 1 - Season 2)
Claudine "Dina" Manzo (née Laurita) (born March 7, 1972) is a mother, an interior decorator, and the founder of the non-profit organization, Project Ladybug. Project Ladybug is dedicated to supporting St. Joseph's Hospital Paterson and helping children with cancer.She and her family live in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. She married her second husband, Tommy Manzo, co-owner of the event and catering facility The Brownstone, in 2005. Tommy's elder brother and business partner, Albert Manzo, is married to Dina's older sister and cast mate, Caroline, making the two also sisters-in-law. Tommy and Dina's wedding was featured on the VH1 television show My Big Fat Fabulous Wedding. In February 2013, Dina announced that she and Tommy had separated in October 2012. Dina has a daughter, Alexia ("Lexi") from her previous marriage to George Hadjiapostoli. Season 1 focuses on the struggles Dina, like many other mothers, faces as Alexia grows up.
In 2010, Dina produced the return of the Off-Broadway comedy, My Big Gay Italian Wedding, at the St. Luke's Theatre in New York City. Dina also stars in Dina's Party, on HGTV. The show follows her event planning company, known for its outlandish celebrations and parties. It premiered on September 10, 2011. Dina made an appearance on episode 18 of Season 4 ("Dinasty of Denial", airdate September 9, 2012), appearing at Teresa Giudice's Fabellini launch party.
Manzo has signed a development deal with Al Roker Entertainment for her own reality-documentary series, which will showcase her life as she moves on from her divorce.
Danielle Staub (born July 29, 1962) is divorced and a single mother of two daughters, Christine Staub and Jillian Staub . She was the only cast member who entered filming as a relative stranger to the group. After weeks of speculation, it was confirmed by Bravo that Staub would not be returning to the show for season 3. In the spring of 2012, Staub joined part of Dial-A-Star, a telephone service that allows fans to talk to their favorite celebrities. In the summer of 2012, Staub had filed for bankruptcy.
Main article: List of The Real Housewives of New Jersey episodes
Boys to Manzo debuted during the series' third season. It is a web series starring Caroline's sons Albie and Chris Manzo as well as their roommate at the time, Greg Bennett. It features the three living their bachelor lives in their Hoboken, New Jersey apartment. The series ran for only seven episodes.
In April 2010, Target stores released the first season on DVD.