Part one of The Real Housewives of New Jersey reunion aired Sunday night and Dina Manzo finally opened up about her infamous family feud with Caroline Mano her brother Chris and his wife Jacqueline Laurita.
A viewer asked Dina Manzo if she returned to the show because “certain people” were no longer part of the cast.
“I’m not going to lie… ” Dina admits. “That did have something to do with it. I would never do a show with family again. It’s just not a healthy environment.”
Manzo joked that she would be happy to do something fun-loving like a cooking show with her estranged sister Caroline Manzo.
“I love my sister,” Dina said.
After showing a flashback to the season one finale dinner where Dina called Jacqueline two-faced over an argument with Danielle Staub, Dina says it “felt different” coming back this season because she didn’t have to worry about “hurting Caroline and Jacqueline by going against what they did or said.”
“I think there was a lot of manipulation going on behind-the-scenes with Danielle and stuff like that,” Dina continued. “But I don’t hate Danielle… I didn’t back then. It was annoying.”
Another viewer asked Dina about a statement she made declaring that she has funerals in her head for people that cross her and asked if she did this for Caroline and Jacqueline.
“I usually don’t have funerals for family,” Dina joked. “But there might have been a wake.”
When asked if she will ever reconcile with her family, Dina said, “I think what I think and what they think are two different things. For me it’s like taking a break. With my sister I’m sure, but unfortunately I don’t know…”
“I love my brother and I love my sister,” Dina continued. “But I have to be honest with you. Right now, there are certain people that I cannot have an exchange with. It’s just toxic and it’s healthier to love from a distance for me.”
Andy mentions that Dina is referring to Dina’s brother’s wife Jacqueline Laurita and Dina confirms that the show is a huge part of the reason for the disconnect in the family.
Andy asked Teresa if she had any response to Caroline previously saying she was to blame for the falling out with her sister.
“I was offended by that,” Dina chimed in. “Because Teresa was friendly with them when we were already on the outs so how would that be possible?”
Later in the episode, Andy brought up Jacqueline Laurita’s return to the show, which sparked a lot of controversy.
Teresa insisted that Jacqueline reaching out to her during the season didn’t mean anything to her and Andy asked Dina if the distance has ruined the relationship with her nephew Nicholas Laurita.
“As sad as it is, I don’t know Nicholas at all,” Dina admitted. “I mean I know him in my way and I have a picture of him on my alter and I pray for him every night.”
Andy asked Dina if it is hard for her to watch the scenes with Nicholas.
“No,” Dina said. “He’s progressing and he’s so beautiful. He gets to be home and run around. The work that I do… I see children in hospital beds, attached to machines, like he’s progressing… I think it’s a beautiful thing.”
Andy asks Dina if Jacqueline invited her over to meet Nicholas would she go.
“Probably not,” Dina says. “There’s nothing I can do to help Nicholas except to pray for him and love him. I’m not Mother Teresa. I can’t sit there and heal him. He just doesn’t know me. I have to say what hurts me more is my daughter. That’s her godfather… ”
Dina continues, “I’m more bothered for the kids that understand. She’s so innocent in all this. Lexi’s such a good girl. I invited everyone to Lexi’s graduation party, Jacqueline, Chris, Caroline and the kids, everybody and they didn’t come.”
“I will say in Jacqueline defense,” Dina continues. “Jacqueline did text Lexi and say that she would try to come but before hand she wanted to have a sit down and that’s not what we wanted to do. I would love for them to all show up and everything just go away.”
When Andy asks her if she thinks that’s actually possible, Dina says, “I tried to squash it a million times in the press and say that everything was fine hoping they’d go along with it and then everything would go back to normal but it just doesn’t go away.”
Andy asked if Dina will attend Lauren Manzo’s wedding.
“I don’t know,” she says. “We weren’t invited to the engagement party. “Do you know how hurtful that was? I didn’t think it was like that… You don’t have to interact on a daily basis but there’s milestones for futures and that that to me was like… my daughter wasn’t invited?”
“Hurt me, I can take it. But hurt my kid or my parents and all bets are off,” Dina adds. “It’s the toxic exchange that I choose to stay away from and I have a right to do that.”
“I would love to know about my salacious past,” Dina joked of Jacqueline’s tweets threatening to expose her past. “Apparently I spent a lot of time on my knees.”
Dina also denied rumors that she was furious with any of her cast mates that were going to film with Jacqueline when she returned in the middle of season 6.
“I kept my mouth shut for four years. Jacqueline opened the door by coming back on the show,” Dina explained. “Right now I don’t want to make a relationship with Jacqueline. I don’t and that’s okay. I’m a grown adult and can make decisions for what makes my life peaceful and I don’t like the chaos.”
Dina also admitted that her brother Chris Laurita reached out to her when he heard the news that she was separated from her husband Tommy Manzo.
“I could not have been happier,” an emotional Dina says of her brother. “But that lasted all of fifteen minutes until… I don’t want to get into it but not everybody was on the same page. I will not allow what happened to [Teresa & Melissa] happen to me and my brother on TV. Maybe now it will go away and America will respect my elderly parents enough to let it go.”
Of course, Jacqueline responded to Dina’s statements via Twitter.
“Dina came on season 4 & opened the door when she came on to film w/T to talk about Caroline. I came in, but I also kind of never left,” Jacqueline tweeted, later adding, “I have no words.”
“Seems Dina intentionally left out that we invited Lexi to dinner 2celebrate her Graduation since they didn’t want2meet b4hand. NO response!” Laurita wrote. “Instead of lying to the public that our family was fine,how about sincerely trying to resolve our issues. Parents would like that more.”
“Maybe Dina wasn’t invited2Lauren’s engagement party because she told us we were dead to her&that she was dead to us.She got what she wanted,” Jac continued. “Lexi is old enough to drive over and talk to her Uncle. (If she wanted to or was allowed) Nick understands more than he can say or express.”
“I think Dina hurts her parents more by not making amends w/family members,never attending family holidays&making them split their time,” she wrote. “Dina wouldn’t meet with Chris! I tried to get them to meet.”
Jacqueline added, “We are on a reality tv show, social media is just an extension of that.”
After the reunion aired, Dina tweeted, “Anyone who is leading others to believe my “doesn’t understand” comment was about anything other than age should be ashamed of themselves.”
“I want you guys to know I’m totally fine. Walking the walk… calm & protected. Soul bath helps! I adore you all for caring~Let’s go to bed!” Dina wrote.
Photo/Video Credit: Bravo