She gives us her side of the story.
We still can't stop talking about last night's "Real Housewives of New
Jersey" -- especially our new favorite mama, Caroline Manzo. Earlier, we spoke with Teresa about the notorious table-flipping incident; now Mrs. Manzo weighs in. Iron hand, ladies!
momlogic: How did you stay so calm and super-mature during the season?
Caroline: I learned early on that yelling gets you nowhere. You need to be calm and stay levelheaded. It helps you make the best decisions.
momlogic: Most women can relate to being part of a group of friends where there are different personalities, different ages, and different social statuses amongst the group. What advice can you give to our moms, in terms of keeping peace and harmony within the group -- even when issues and differences arise?
Caroline: You have to look at every situation objectively and understand that when someone has an opinion, you can't argue their opinion. They have the right to have it. It's not black or white or textbook. You should voice your own opinion while respecting others. You have to understand they have the right to their own opinion and, at the end of the day, they have the right to feel the way they do. You need to work through it as adults.
momlogic: What was it like dealing with the hot-blooded women?
Caroline: At times, it got very difficult. This is something almost foreign to me. You have to take it with a grain of salt. If their temper explodes, don't allow yours to. Allow them their crazy time, so at the end of the day, if they want to yell and scream, let them. I am not going to go down that road. When you talk calmly, people listen to you.
momlogic: We admire you because you demand respect from your kids, friends, and family ... Where does that strength come from?
Caroline: My parents were and are incredible people. I am 1 of 11 children. My dad didn't graduate high school and my mother didn't drive. They did whatever they could to put food on the table for us and to make us whole as a family. With that came lessons in life, like respecting others. I have said it before, "You don't just get respect, it's earned." Of course, you respect someone initially when you meet them, but to get higher respect, they have to show they are good people and they have to do the right thing. That's how I was raised -- sometimes doing the right thing goes against the grain. You need to have integrity.
momlogic: Did you feel betrayed by Danielle when you found out about the book and learned the truth about her past?
Caroline: Danielle was never a friend and she was never part of the equation in my life. There were numerous red flags when I first met her. She was a person I decided to keep at arm's length. I was shocked and, make no mistake, I didn't search her out or investigate her. It doesn't make sense that I could investigate her and come up with a story. It came from people she knows in her town. They told me she wasn't who she claims to be, she has a past, and she's still the same person. When you hear that, I said, "She's in my life, I have children, I have a nephew, Teresa has children, and she's infused herself in our world." We were hit with this bomb, and it's my responsibility to investigate it. No, I don't feel betrayed by Danielle, but never in my life would I expect I would be dealing with this. But we are dealing with it. She was never a friend, never someone I wanted to be a friend, and there were many red flags that she wasn't a person I wanted to be with.
momlogic: How did your relationships with the women change from before shooting the show to now?
Caroline: As a family, you go through a lot. Certainly, Dina and Jacqueline had a very rough patch during the filming. I only blame Danielle for that, no one but her. But Jacqueline and I are family and this doesn't sit well with us. If there is an issue, we address it and the relationship is on the mend. We're family and love each other, and when you love each other, you fight. We mended fences and that's what family is about. Teresa, we consider family. We've known her for years. We couldn't get any closer. There were a few rough patches, but we're good now.
momlogic: Is there anything else you want our moms to know?
Caroline: Here's what I want people to know: People are saying, "How could you expose the book to the town?" That was sensationalized by Danielle. I didn't like her from the second we met. She doesn't even live in our town. She doesn't even live here! I showed the book to two people. If two people constitute a town, then I don't know where I live. They were friends of mine and it wasn't done with malice. I did show the book, but she refuses to believe it was me because she has such a hatred for my sister. I am not lying. I have nothing to gain by lying. For me to throw myself in this situation and be so passionate about it and take the risk of losing wonderful fans that I've got ... I would have to be a fool. A leopard doesn't change its spots. I did not show the town ... I showed two people. It was Danielle who decided to show the country. Danielle is very calculating, so my guess is that she's got a book deal or something and she'll capitalize from this.