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The Daily Dish

Jacqueline Laurita Recounts Meeting Chris for First Time

"We had an instant connection," Jacqueline spills.

By Lauren Metz

Chris and Jacqueline Laurita of the Real Housewives of New Jersey
Sure, Jacqueline Laurita and hubby Chris clicked immediately, but turning her into a Jersey girl? That took some work.

"Chris and I met the summer of 1996 when Ashley was only five years old," the fairytale begins. "At the time, I rented a chair in a salon doing hair as a licensed cosmetologist in Las Vegas, Nevada where I had moved with my ex-husband and my parents in 1990." Additionally, Jacqueline was also modeling at local conventions for extra money. "I don't really like to call it modeling because it wasn't as glamorous as print work and runway, but I had fun doing it anyway."

Now, what Jersey love story would be complete without a Sopranos connection? "One day my Dad, who was senior vice president of operations at the Riviera Hotel and Casino, told me that a coworker of his knew a guy that needed a model to work in his booth at a trade show in Chicago," Jacqueline continues writing on her blog. "My Dad's coworker was a guy named Steve Shiripa. You may know him by his character on The Sopranos. Steve is actually the guy that introduced me to a friend who hired me to do that job in Chicago."

Cue fate. "Chris was returning from vacation when he and his brothers decided last minute to go to the convention in Chicago. Chris and his brothers happened to come by our booth and his brother just happened to know one of the girls I was working with through her sister. Small world. Chris and I were introduced. I thought nothing of it, besides the fact that he was a handsome guy with pretty blue eyes and dimples who was very quiet and seemed shy, but sexy at the same time."

Find out what happened next when Chris and Jacqueline went to dinner for the first time — and why they broke up years later! — at

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