My conversation with Melissa Gorga

In anticipation of the return of RHONJ, this blog was originally posted on January 6, 2012.

I spoke with Melissa Gorga this week and I must tell you I was surprised. I invited her for an interview long ago and it never happened, even though it was confirmed.  It did not happen due to a young assistant who was in over her head and made a mistake, so there were no hard feelings.

I wrote about the interview not happening, and I moved on.  Thanks to her professional and very sweet publicist, along with Melissa feeling bad about the screw up and wanting to fix the situation, it finally happened this week. It was simply a comedy of errors and Melissa did nothing wrong.

I am pleased to report that Melissa said “Thank you Jesus” several times and it was fabulous because I would have been disappointed had she not.  We spoke about a lot of things and while some of it did not ring true to me, she was kind and surprisingly candid, so you take what you like from it.

Melissa is a woman of faith and like me she is unapologetic about it.  She believes in God and spends a lot of time praising Jesus for the blessings in her life.  She has been thanking Jesus since she was a little girl and it’s not just us who thinks it’s entertaining.  So does her family.

She goes to church every Sunday, and usually without Joe.  He generally stays home with the boys and she goes with Antonia.  She tells Joe he needs to go and he assures her he prays and talks to God so he does not need to go to church because they are in constant contact.

Joe tells Melissa God sees him and knows him so there is no need to schlep to church.  Important to note that before we started the interview I let Melissa know I was in fact in love with her husband.  She needed to know so there was no tension, plus I was not sure I could hide it.

We spoke a little bit about how life has changed since they began on the show and she told me it has not changed that much.  She let me know life was certainly simpler when she didn’t need to explain herself all the time, but overall she thinks life is pretty much the same.

I think her response is silly.  You cannot go on a reality television with the type of following that RHONJ has, and tell me that your life is the same.  Her family has been ripped apart for the world to see so how has nothing changed? There were problems before, but going public changes it all.

Before the show Melissa was not on Twitter having people hate her and wish her harm.  I am on Twitter and I have seen people bash her as it their lives depended on it, so if she thinks I believe her life is the same now as it always was, then she must think I’m an idiot, which I am not.

She is surprised by the amount of time put into negative comments about her on Twitter.  She can read an attack in the morning, go to the gym, take the kids to school, grocery shop, clean the house, make dinner, and then check Twitter again and the same person is still talking about her.

She understand that people are interested in the show and she is grateful for that, but she has learned to not pay too much attention to the hate and truly likes Twitter, so she tries to keep it fun and not dark.  She also assured me that her sisters are not bullying on Twitter.

They are all busy with their kids and their husbands, and simply do not have the time to dedicate to Twitter in the way people think they do.  She enjoys Twitter and it makes her sad that so many people make it dark.  If you follow me on Twitter you know I’m going to agree on this one.

There are people on Twitter whose only job is to be on Twitter.  They stalk, bully, torment and actively try to destroy people and both their reputations and spirit.  There is a group of people on Twitter who hate her, but I have haters too so Twitter, while interesting, is not important here.

We spoke a lot about her husband Joe and I must tell you that when she talks about him you can feel her smile over the phone.  This is a woman in love with her husband.  She is old school in the way she views her husband and their marriage.  Talking about Joe was my favorite part.

Melissa says when Joe talks to you, he makes direct eye contact and all bets are off.  He is hypnotizing and magical.  She loves him, perhaps as much as I do.  She describes him as special and it is lovely. She told me she adores him and thanks Jesus for their marriage, which is solid.

It hurts her feelings when people say she is a gold digger because they built their life together.  She is his partner and proud of their life. She also says he wears the pants in their relationship and he is the king of the castle.  She is a throwback to another era in terms of her marriage.

Her and the kids are in love with Joe and when he speaks, they listen.  He is in charge and while she is no pushover, the final word on things is his and she likes it like that.  He protects her and her children and takes care of them physically, emotionally and spiritually.  He is the boss.

We also spoke about Melissa’s father, and hearing her speak of her dad made me want to cry.  Her pain is real and fresh even though he died when she was 17.  She misses him every day and is angry about the things he is missing.  She is also envious of her sisters time with him.

There is 10 and 12 years difference between her and her sisters, so they got to have their father walk them down the aisle when they were married, and he met their kids which makes her happy for her sisters, but sad for herself.  She saw him as a grandfather, but not to her own kids.

She believes her father watches over her, and so do I.  Joe supports her and her dreams in the same way her dad did which a great comfort to her. She is raising her children to love and respect their father as she did hers, and it is lovely.  The death of her dad has shaped who she is.

After we talked about her dad, we got to talking about family and of course Teresa came up.  I have done many interviews with reality television personalities and they are about the people not their shows, so while I appreciated that Melissa spoke about the show, I’m not going to.

This is an article about Melissa as a person, not a real housewife.  I don’t want you to think I am keeping any juicy news from you.  Melissa told me things about her coming on the show that we have all read in a million places, and that I’m not sure I believe, but what I think does not matter.

Melissa spoke at great length about her relationship with Teresa and I want to be clear that I did not ask specific questions, but she gave specific answers.  I like both Teresa and Melissa on the show for different reasons and it changes with each episode. I have flattered and battered both.

Melissa told me she is a believer in karma, which I found to be interesting. She also told me she has only seen one or two episodes of Teresa on Celebrity Apprentice. For someone who is so big into karma, she does not seem to worry about her own which is fascinating.

If we are to believe that family is the most important thing to her, I would expect her to be watching her sister-in-law on Celebrity Apprentice.  Even if they were not getting along, that would be an even bigger reason to watch her, because you are hoping she fails.

I do not believe that Melissa does not watch Celebrity Apprentice.  I do however question her motives in lying about it.  If she watches, she should be proud of her and say so.  If she is not watching, then her stories of their family being intact are not true and there is lots of tension.

I am not picking sides and I am not that interested or invested.  I’m simply saying that there are pieces missing in her story about Teresa and if I were a gossip columnist I would report them, but I’m not.  I am writing about Melisa as a wife and mother.  From that perspective, I really like her.

I asked Melissa to tell me three words that best describe her and she used loyal, impulsive and friendly.  She also said she was sassy and a chameleon.  She said she can have dinner with the President of the United States and a homeless person, and find a way to talk to them both.

Love or hate her on the show, Melissa Gorga is charming.  The love she has for her family is epic and so in that way she is just like Teresa.  There are two camps when it comes to Mel and Tre and I understand opinions from both sides.  At the end of the day we don’t see everything.

Can we see a few hours in the life of these people, read a few magazines, follow them on Twitter, and know what the real story is?  Not a chance.  We know about these people what Bravo wants us to know and only the people living these lives can tell us what is going on in their lives.

I interviewed Teresa and I liked her.  I interviewed Melissa and I liked her too.  It’s not my job to pick a side, and while as a fan I have a side, it’s not my job.  At the end of the day Melissa Gorga is a mom and a wife, trying to do the best she can under intense scrutiny and judgment.

The upcoming season will be interesting and I’m sure Melissa will give out a few more “exclusive” interviews before it starts.  We will and pick a side, but that is what reality television demands of us.  If the commercials are any indication of what’s to come, sides will form quickly.

I am going to watch the new season and I will blog it for as long as I can stand to watch.  I wish Melissa well with the show and I am happy she is there.  She is a nice girl, caught up in a big life and that is exciting and scary.  I thank her for taking the time to talk to me.

Melissa is a sweet girl and I think she is doing the best she can under a lot of pressure.  Fame is enticing and it can take some time to understand how it all works.  I think once she gets into the swing of it, people will see that she was not mean, but simply misguided.

Once the season begins I will be unkind at some point, because I am a fan and get sucked in.  I will be honest, and I will change my mind often.  At the end of the day, regardless of the show, I like Melissa Gorga.  She puts herself on display and for the most part, keeps it real.