When Gretchen Rossi joined the cast of The Real Housewives of Orange County in 2008, she was engaged to Jeff Beitzel, who was 24 years older than her and battling leukemia. We watched Gretchen care for Jeff, even learning how to give him treatments from home. Jeff lost his battle with cancer on September 13, 2008, after Bravo finished filming. TMZ reported that Jeff left Gretchen $2.5 million in his will, but Gretchen has said that most of that went to debts that his estate had.
After Jeff passed, Tamra confronted Gretchen at that season’s reunion about a man named Jay Photoglou. Jay claimed to have been dating Gretchen while she was with Jeff, and published photos of them together on the internet.
Gretchen sued Jay for defamation, assault, battery, breach of contract, and more. The defamation lawsuit was thrown out in 2010, but in 2011, Gretchen won a $500,000 lawsuit against Photoglou in damages for other charges.
During part 1 of the season 8 reunion, Gretchen’s alleged infidelities surfaced again, because Tamra Barney made a comment about Gretchen’s cheating on Jeff in the RHOC 100th episode special. “Gretchen had a hard time because a lot of us girls saw some things she kind of wished we didn’t. She’s kind of engaged to this man but yet we’re seeing her with this other guy all around town,” Tamra said. Gretchen says she was hurt by this accusation and she thought Tamra had apologized and admitted that she misjudged the situation.
Tamra says that she can’t deny what she saw with her own eyes, which was Gretchen sitting on a guy’s lap at the St. Regis while her engagement ring [from Jeff] was in her purse. Tamra says that she saw Gretchen kiss the guy while her fiance was in the hospital, but Gretchen insists that is not proof of cheating and that she was just being flirtatious with her friend.
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