Cast Blog: #RHONJ

Teresa Explains It All

Teresa Giudice answers some of your burning questions from the finale.

Hello Sweethearts!

I have to start by thanking you all! Thank you all for caring, for your wonderful messages, and tweets. Your support means the world to me!

I also want you to know that as much as I love, love, love the Team Teresa support, I get that you are also Team Family and Team Gorga and Team Everyone. And I love that too. You can love all of us or none of us. We're all humans and we're not perfect. I even get why some of you might like Melissa. Sometimes I like Melissa. If anything, you're getting a good picture of what knowing Melissa is like: she can be fun and sweet and you think things are going to be good, and then she twists on you, lies, does something nasty, and you're just like: why? Why couldn't you just be all nice? Or at least all real? But whatever. I can't change her. She is who she is. I'd like to say you know her true colors, but I think this is only the tip of the iceberg. I think she's so worried about painting a certain picture of her present, glossing over her past, and trying to decide who she wants to be in the future, that she doesn't even know her true colors.

Here's one thing I know: you can't lie to your fans. You can lie to yourself, you can lie to the media and they'll still print your lies hoping to make money off them, but if you lie to your fans, eventually you won't have them (or you'll have to buy fake ones...). People will forgive your shady past, forgive your mistakes, but you have to be honest with them. They won't forgive liars. I've known this since day one, and I've always told you all the truth. I tell you the things I can't or won't talk about, like open legal cases or my parents' private business, but I never lie about them. I'm proud that you can go through all of my blogs and interviews since the very beginning and there are no inconsistencies and no lies. I might be naive about things and I don't always have all the answers, but I remember where I worked, when I went to college, where I met my husband, who I'm related to, if I have an arrest record -- all helpful for telling the truth!I'm sorry my blogs are so long sometimes (I'm sure this one will be huge!), but I respect all of you enough to take the time to explain things like the magazine covers, like my family's history, like what it actually says in my cookbooks, especially since other people like to just throw bombs -- "She did this and I have the secret texts to prove it!" -- and run away. You have all stuck by us these last four seasons through bankruptcies and sicknesses, family feuds and heart breaks, and I think you all deserve the truth.

So here are answers to the questions I got from you all the most this week:

Why was Joe's brother Pete Giudice at the Fashion Show? (I got this one a lot!) Pete wasn't there randomly alone. He came with his wife, my sister-in-law, Sheila, her sister, and a bunch of other guys. It's a big event for our town every year and it always sells out. And yes, there are always guys at the fashion show -- go back and watch any other year -- remember Greg Bennett begging to sit next to me at the first one? -- but our hubbies usually don't come. I didn't know Pete was going to be there or believe me, I would have dragged Joe along too!

Why did I go to the new salon with Kim D? Because she asked me to go with her. And it was just for make-up, not hair. And it wasn't just some random place. They were a major new sponsor of Kim's fashion show as you could see from their name on the step-and-repeat, Chateau Allure Salon. Kim's fashion show raises thousands of dollars every year for charity, and I support it. So do all the other ‘Wives. I know Melissa now calls it a "trashy party," but that's only since she started supporting a competing local fashion show. And Melissa seemed pretty excited when Kim D. asked her to walk in the show last year... I don't want to forget my old friends just because I got more popular and met new ones.Am I friends with the people who owned the salon? No. It's owned by Johnny Karagiorgis (@JohnnyTheGrk on Twitter) and his wife Penny Drossos (@PDKhair). I've met them at a few of my appearances, and they seem nice enough. I know they like me, I just don't know them very well. I only heard after the fashion show that Penny and Melissa don't get along, but like I said last week, I can't keep up with everyone in our town that doesn't like Melissa! All I can do is tell people not to talk about my family and excuse myself from the situation, which I do every time, even to Kim D! I have heard since then that Penny used to be a special needs teacher and has a Special Needs day every week at her salon where she pampers kids and adults with special needs, which is pretty amazing.

How does Penny know Melissa? I don't know, you'd have to ask her. From what I understand, it's actually Penny's family member, not Melissa's, who owned Lookers (weird thing to lie about). Maybe their argument is from something back then.

What kind of club is Lookers? I have no idea. I'm seriously confused. Melissa says it was a "bikini bar" but that she only wore a tank top and sneakers. Then she said Lookers was a club for "older men with money. You're in a bikini, you hand them a drink, they're like 'Here's $100 bill.' I'd be stupid not to work there!" (Yes, Melissa, very stupid... I had no idea stupidity is why I had no money in college... I thought it was my morals...) She worked there a day, a week, a year, her family owned it, they didn't, I have NO IDEA. Google the place at your own risk.

Why didn't I warn Melissa about Angelo after I met him at the salon? I had no idea he was going to the fashion show too! I thought when he came up to me at the salon, that was it, and I could tell Melissa later. I didn't want to ruin a nice evening at the event by talking about it that night. When Angelo showed up and came up to the table, my heart was racing. I don't know anything about Melissa's true past, so I had no idea if he was a threat or not, but I was prepared to defend Melissa if he said anything. But all he did was say hi and left. Left the table and then left the building (and I chased him down)! I never met the guy before that day. I didn't even know his name, I walked around calling him "the bald guy" all night. And I was never near him, never next to him, nothing (or you would have seen it!). The first one to use his name was Melissa in the bathroom. She immediately started calling him "Angelo" -- which looking back now is weird since she claimed she didn't recognize him.Why did Angelo say Kim and Teresa wanted to "blow the whistle" on Melissa? If you watch from the beginning of his conversation, you see that Angelo wasn't talking about me and Kim first-hand because he didn't know us. He was retelling a second hand conversation. He was talking about Johnny, the owner of the salon, telling him that "Kim and Teresa want to blow the whistle" on Melissa. That's Angelo retelling Johnny's opinion. Maybe he heard wrong, maybe Johnny did say that, I have no idea because I don't really know Johnny either. Maybe Johnny thinks I would like to see Melissa taken down, but he's wrong, I didn't and don't, and I never said anything like that to anyone. I know what it's like to have your family betray you publicly. I would never wish Melissa's family secrets to come out. Your family is supposed to be your rock. I wouldn't wish this on anyone.

What about Angelo saying "Teresa knew"? Ask Richie Wakile about things coming out of your mouth like last week's "Kathy tastes like fish" comment... I don't know what Angelo was referring to, but he was very clear a week later in a taped interview that I didn't know him and had nothing to do with it. I did NOT know Angelo, and I did NOT know Melissa was going to be "set up."

What did I know? Keep reading...

Who was the secret person texting Jacqueline? Good question. I'd like to know too. Especially since none of our "mutual friends" were at the salon that day and the party. And Jacqueline said she was going to send the texts to Melissa that night. You know those two would have put them on Twitter immediately. Why didn't they? Please, tell us, because no one is buying the "you're a loyal friend" excuse.

Why am I still friends with Kim D? First, maybe it's because I still feel bad for how my brother treated Kim that night. You didn't see the half of it. It was s-c-a-r-y and my brother knows it.

Second, it's not just me still friends with her, it's Caroline and Jacqueline too. Why aren't they freaking out too and defending their new best friend Melissa? Maybe because like me, they don't really think Kim D. did anything that terrible to Melissa. The worst thing you can say about Kim D. is that she knew a guy was going to say, "Hi, remember me?" to Melissa. That's really not a big set-up in my opinion. It's not openly evil, like appearing on the cover of a magazine (with my picture, thank you, thank you very much!) talking about me and my family and telling horrible LIES about me. So a good question might be why is Kathy still friends with Melissa after this week? I'm Kathy's blood family after all. And Kathy was sooo hurt that I mentioned one of her husband's insults to me, which she admitted he did, in an interview.

She's not upset by Melissa's recent interview lies? And why is Melissa spreading lies now? I know why, but you'll have to wait until the reunion to see it. PS: Is her Victim Tour 2012 over yet? Anyone?Did anyone else notice how in the bathroom she immediately turned on me when I told her not to call my brother (which by the way, if my whole evil plan was to out her to my brother so they'd get divorced, I would have welcomed him coming down!) and reminded me I had "nieces and nephews at home." She always does that, she always uses her kids to hold me hostage. She keeps me away from my family. I can't win for losing with her. She says I should never have told her about the guy, then that I should have told her earlier. I'm damned if I do, and damned if I don't. You could see how used to this I was, her readiness to twist this to my brother, to hurt him and me. She doesn't care who she hurts. I know my brother's temper and I didn't want him to get in a fight and go to jail. Why wasn't she concerned about this??? She was begging him to come, then she blamed me for him coming! She will use anyone.

I didn't know until I watched the episode that Melissa was egging my brother on in the car. She didn't want him to drive away. She had no proof of anything, she wasn't even really "ambushed," but she had the perfect opportunity to get my brother to hate me. So she took it and ran with it. She told him to roll down the window and she knew exactly what to tell him that would push my buttons: "Tell your sister 'Shame on you!'" She kept repeating it, even under her breath as we were talking, "Say shame on you! Say shame!" That, to me, is sick. It's not me watching a lie from Caroline or a rumor. It's me watching Melissa in action. Sick, sick, sick.

So, last question: What's the big deal with Melissa dancing or not dancing anyway? Like I said last week, and I said on Twitter right after the fashion show "leaks" about the "set-up" -- it is no big deal. You know, I've been around the Housewives franchise for a while now, and I've seen this before. And no one ever cares. Doesn't every city have an ex-stripper? NeNe admitted she was a stripper. No one cared. Bethenny's topless B-movie came out. No one cared. And they are the two biggest Housewives ever. Even if Melissa was a stripper, I KNEW no-one would care. If I wanted to "embarrass" Melissa, it wouldn't be for something no-one cared about!

My guess as to why Melissa is so hot and bothered about this whole non-ambush thing? Because it's probably only the tip of her past's iceberg. Maybe there's something else Melissa did back then that she wants to stay hidden because people WOULD think is a big deal, especially since she's a mom now, especially if she still does it... I don't know, and I hope never to know! I guess I'm actually thankful this all happened now because when the real Marco skeletons come out, I'll be far far away from her and she can't try to blame me for those too.

OK, last question...

Finally, yes, I did see Melissa's US Weekly interview. Is that 3 weeks in a row now they've put me on the cover? It's amazing to me how many times US Weekly uses me to sell magazines when they've only sat down and interviewed me ONCE back in Season 1. My favorite was when they just reused the exact same cover picture that In Touch used 6 months earlier. That's an amazing reporting team right there...I hear those of you who say I deserve it, that I did the same thing. It's easier to say when you're not in the world of tabloids and television ratings, but I do want to explain how I handle it the best way I can. What Melissa and the other women accused me of all season was basically running the magazines and having complete control over everything. We all know that's not true. Even though Caroline mocked me for the headlines, she knows, we all know, they write something to sell. I know Melissa didn't write the US Weekly headline. I know she didn't even get to pick which shot of her (or me!) they put on the cover (at least I hope she didn't choose that shot...). I know Melissa can't control what "sources" say in the interview. She doesn't even know if her "story" will make the cover until it comes out. I don't blame her for any of that. I don't even care if she made a million dollars for the story. All I can hold her responsible for is the actual quotes that come out of her mouth. Read all my old interviews. Tell me what I actually said that was untrue or even hurtful. I talk about how I feel, I tell the truth about my life. I wish I could say the same about Melissa, but I can't. Her lies are absolute garbage and right from her mouth. That, at least to me, is a huge difference in how we handle being in the press.

I got a million calls from the press for my response, and I'll be honest, I didn't want to talk to anyone. But obviously they are going to write about me whether I give them quotes or not, whether there's any truth to it or not. There was a time when I was really upset to be in the magazines, when it was all new to me. But this is my life now. I'm on television, it comes with the territory. But I don't have to stoop to their level. I can tell my truth and still have something positive come out of it. So I decided while everyone's waiting to hear what I have to say (because they won't always care), I'll use this opportunity to also tell people about good things, about good causes.

Last year, right after the fashion show and Season 3 reunion, I entered Celebrity Apprentice world. I went to several charity functions with the Trumps and got to know about NephCure. I had never heard of them before and I was really excited about the possibility of bringing some much needed national attention to a great cause. I worked so hard to stay on as long as I could so as many people as possible would learn about NephCure. I think I helped them, but in a lot of ways, they saved me too. Raising money for people with real problems, for sick little kids, saved me from falling into a pit of self-pity from the way my family and friends treated me all season. It felt so good to be away from the tiny little bubble of New Jersey Housewives who have nothing better to do with their lives except obsessively text about secret texts... to use my brain and my business skills and my experience up against 18 other unique, talented and accomplished people. It felt so good to get outside of myself.No, I haven't really seen or spoken to the other Housewives and my brother in almost a year. And while that made me really sad, on a lot of levels I really flourished being away from their negativity. My kids are doing amazing. I celebrated my 40th birthday on an island with my hubby and my closest friends. My third cookbook hit the New York Times bestseller list. My Fabellini and Milania hair care line was launched. And my heart is full as I continue to work with NephCure.

So I decided to do a magazine interview... but only if they would also talk about NephCure. Because at the end of the day that's what's important: being a good person and helping other people, not letting haters drag you into the mud with them. I hope you'll buy my magazine interview story because it really is my words, and I hope you will support NephCure (www.nephcure.org) or whatever charity helps you save others... and yourself.

Thank you all for being there for me and making me a better person! I love, love, love you all!

If you have any other questions for me or just want to chat, follow me on Twitter @Teresa_Giudice or visit my website at www.teresagiudice.com.

Tanti Baci,
Teresa xx

Why Amber Shares Her Cancer Story

Amber Marchese explains what inspired her to open up about her battle with cancer.

Hello Housewives friends! I hope all of you are enjoying the month of October. Halloween is a rather big deal in the Marchese home, especially for Isabella. You would think she would be afraid of the zombies, witches, and ghosts, but nope, nothing could be too “scary” or “spooky” for her. All of the boys are super busy with school, lacrosse, and CCD, but we always make family time a huge part of our lives. We truly love our time together and cherish every moment together. Sebastian just celebrated his 12th birthday! He is high honors in school and the sweetest young man, we could not be more proud of him. Not a day goes by that he does not give out a compliment to me and/or a hug. Michael is starting the process of applying to high schools. He is also high honors and he is so much like me in so many ways. We have such an amazing bond. Corbin is doing amazing in school and loves lacrosse. Corbin is my quick-witted stinker. He could seriously charm a snake out of basket just by talking. And Isabella, my sweet Isabella. That little girl just melts my heart. Not a day goes by without her hugging, kissing, and telling me how much she loves me. She is funny, light hearted, and sensitive. Clearly, my side of the family. We are getting ready to take our annual “Sleepy Hollow” trip to see the Great Pumpkin Blaze and Headless Horseman attraction. We have been taking this trip for years and the kids just cannot get enough of it. I will post pictures on my social media. 

October is also breast cancer awareness month. I would like to thank Bravo for allowing me to share my story. I am completely honored and grateful to have had the ability to film these amazing moments in my life. When I think of where I was just five years ago to now, I am just in complete amazement. I don’t mean to be presumptuous, but if my story encourages even just one person to be proactive with their health, then I have accomplished what I came to do. 

So, you ask? Why? Why do I share my story? Good question, and I will give you a little background. I was 31-years-old when I noticed lumps. While I was breast feeding my daughter, I found several little lumps in my right breast. Jim encouraged me to get them checked out. Really? Ugh… I am a busy mother, I don’t have time for this! Do you know what kind of pain in the ass it is to drag babies to the doctor?! Besides, I am Sicilian, I am prone to cysts. I was sure it was just cysts, since I had many throughout my twenties. All benign, innocent little cysts. However, I begrudgingly went to my gynecologist. My doctor, to my surprise, was concerned. She did not bring my mind to a bad place, but she insisted that I get an ultrasound. After I received my results, my doctor took one look at the ultrasound results and sent me straight to a surgeon for a biopsy. That surgeon sent me away telling me not to worry about it and that my doctor was being far too overly cautious. He felt that she was creating unnecessary stress and anxiety. Despite this surgeon’s position, amazingly, my doctor insisted that I get a biopsy. Well, I got the biopsy, which came back as “atypical cells,” which then required a lumpectomy for further evaluation. To my absolute horror, the surgeon called me to tell me that had “invasive carcinoma”, AKA breast cancer. As you already may know, I went through many surgeries, including a double mastectomy, and a year and half of chemotherapy/adjunctive therapy. I had an aggressive form of breast cancer, so time and aggressive treatment were crucial for me. Fact is, if I would have listened to the surgeon, I would not be here to write this blog to all of you. What you may not know is there are many options for newly diagnosed women with breast cancer. My surgery involved having tissue form my dorsal region transplanted to reconstruct my breasts. There was also skin grafting and tattooing to insure a more natural look. I was pleasantly surprised at my physical appearance post-surgery. My husband and I spent hours researching options for both treatment and reconstruction. My advice to newly diagnosed individuals is to bring a friend, cousin, uncle, wife, husband, whoever to help you take notes on what the doctor is saying. You need someone there to accurately hear through all of the nerves and anxiety. 

After all of my treatment, I had a follow up with my doctor. I asked her, why? Why did she push me so hard to make sure I was properly diagnosed? She told me a story that brought her back to the days of her residency. There was a young girl in her twenties that was dying in the hospital from breast cancer. This young women told my doctor her story. Several years earlier she found a lump, but not one doctor took the lump seriously telling her that she was too young and to go live her life. Unbeknownst to her, she was living with breast cancer and by the time she was diagnosed, it was way into the advanced stages of breast cancer. The young women soon passed on, but her story saved my life. I will never let that young, beautiful woman die in vain without passing her story onto you. So when people dare to say to me, “You talk about cancer too much,” or, “You're using cancer as a card,” I say to them don’t you dare try to shut me up with your ignorance. As another cancer survivor and friend, Brian Dowd, who works tirelessly with the Livestrong foundation said to me once, “As a survivor, it is your duty to tell your story to potentially save others.” That has been etched in my mind ever since, and I proudly will take those marching orders. 

For me the point of this photo shoot was to capture triumph, strength, and victory. I may have the scars, my breasts will never be the same, but I have never felt more powerful and beautiful in my life. If you would like to see more photos from the shoot, check them out here. I wear these scars with pride, as I have earned them. I was completely surprised by my husband when he planned the dinner at the gallery. It was amazing -- three dozen red roses, my pictures on the walls and the paintings -- the whole experience was breathtaking. Jim made sure every detail was covered. He had wine glasses with our family crest as well as a wine carafe. He even had a real shield made for us with my family crest married to his. You can see them all here. Jim and I have seen good and bad times in our lives, but we always manage to make sure we show our appreciation towards each other. I give him a solid TEN for romantic nights and for the planning. For me, it is the thought that counts and this was the perfect way for us to celebrate our love for life. If you would like to see a short video of the filming in the barn I have attached the link. I have learned much about myself and my family this season, but no lesson has been more important than how much the little things matter.

Final note, I have been working hard to raise awareness for breast cancer! Here are a couple of events that I attended throughout the month of October. If you want to donate to any of these organizations, I would be more than grateful!

1. Team NBHN / Team Tackle Jacobi Medical Center, North Central Bronx Hospital

http://www.nyc.gov/html/hhc/jacobi/downloads/pdf/intranet_entries/Team-Tackle-Pines-poster.pdf

2. Brian Wiltz and his soccer team “Think Pink” soccer game raised money for an organization near and dear to my heart, The Beauty Foundation.

http://www.beautyfoundationnj.com

3. The Think Pink event at the Pueblo Convention Center in Pueblo, CO, on October 2.

The Think Pink event supports diagnostic screenings for under insured and underserved women in Pueblo County, the event encourages Breast cancer awareness for the community and reminds everyone to always get checked. 

4. I filmed a segment on The Real airing tomorrow, October 17. They dedicated an entire episode to Breast Cancer Awareness month! I hope you check it out!

http://thereal.com/episodes/keeping-it-real-pink-with-amber-marchese/

Thank you and many blessings, 

Amber Marchese