During Saturday’s RHONJ panel at BravoCon 2023 — which featured only half of the cast, including Melissa and husband Joe Gorga, due to the ongoing family feud — Melissa, 44, opened up about no longer speaking to Teresa, 51, and how that will impact the new season of the Bravo hit.
“You know what? It’s hard,” she said of cutting Teresa and her husband Luis “Louie” Ruelas out of their lives. “But I’ve come to a point in my life where, you know, you can try, you can try, you can try, but at some point you need to protect your peace and you need to create a boundary and I think that’s what I did and that’s what we’re doing.”
“I think, you know, when something is really toxic and it doesn’t work for you and it makes you uncomfortable, you don’t need to force yourself to be around it,” Melissa continued. “It’s okay to let something go. I am protecting my peace. We should all protect our peace. I think that’s a wonderful thing and everyone should do that.
When asked by moderator Jerry O’Connell how their lack of communication would change things for season 14, Melissa said, “It’s very different from last season… because there’s not a lot of communication so I think its different and better.”
“I think the fans will feel refreshed as well. I mean, weren’t you sick of it?” she asked the crowd, who erupted into cheers. “It’s so much to describe right now but I think everyone knows where we’re at. Everyone’s reading it. I think it’s, like I said, we’re at a place of peace. I think everyone needs a minute. Everyone needs a break and there’s just a period on it right now.”
Melissa’s husband was also asked about the family tension, with one fan asking Joe why he thinks his sister continues to pick fights with them.
In response, Joe, 43, simply said: “I’m always gonna say I am a brother and I am a man, and I really wish the family would come together. What I want is the best. I have two parents in heaven and I would love for us to come together.”
As fans know, last season of RHONJ was heavily focused on the Gorga/Giudice family divide. Years of misunderstandings plus business dealings between Louie and Joe had put a strain on their relationship, but things only got worse throughout the season when attempts were made to repair it.
The season ended with Joe and Melissa deciding not to attend Teresa’s wedding after it was revealed she and Louie, 48, had met with Joe behind Melissa’s back to tell Joe about cheating rumors they’d heard involving Melissa. (Melissa has vehemently denied the “baseless” allegations.)
From that point on, lines were drawn between Teresa and Melissa. The two traded insults on social media and on their respective podcasts. They were even split into separate panels at BravoCon 2022 to mitigate the noise (the same was done this year.)
Things didn’t get better by the reunion. Taped in April, the three-parter included plenty of name-calling. And though Melissa and Joe both offered hope they could build a relationship again in the future, Teresa made it clear she never planned on seeing them again.
“I think that’s what is refreshing about the season, and I actually kind of found it refreshing last season, is they’re not even pretending. I mean, they just hate each other,” he told the crowd. “So it’s like once that’s out the door, it actually kind of takes the energy out of the whole thing and then you can move on and tell other stories, which is what is happening this season.”
“I think it will be really interesting for people [to see] because there are a lot of new alliances,” he continued to say of the new season. “All the platelets kind of shift this season and I think it’s really interesting to watch.”
After his response, attendees in the crowd started yelling “Fire Teresa!” but moderator Jeff Lewis insisted Cohen wouldn’t do that because “she brings in the ratings.”
“You can’t fire her,” Lewis, 53, added. “That’s the problem. I mean, I like Teresa. I’m fine, I’m good with her now. I don’t want to cause any more problems.”