The Real Housewives of New York City newbie Tinsley Mortimer is quick to confirm to Dorinda Medley in the Season 9 trailer for RHONY that she has a mugshot. And the ladies talk a lot about how the Big Apple socialite was once a prominent "It" girl around town before landing in some trouble, which stemmed from an April 2016 arrest for trespassing at the Palm Beach home of her former boyfriend, Alexander "Nico" Fanjul. Now, Tinsley is opening up about how the relationship she was in with the Domino sugar heir led to her arrest.
"It ended up that things did get pretty dark and it was physical and emotional abuse [that was] involved and I found myself in a very lost, dark place that I never anticipated ever being in. And it was bad," she tells PEOPLE. "I had moments of feeling like I wasn't going to make it. I was going to be one of those tragic stories you see on TV."
TInsley said that there had been abuse that she had been hiding for years, adding that there were many relationship highs and lows when they were together. “When it was good, it was so good. It was, I love you more than anything. You are the love of my life,'" she said. “I started to notice there was this quick switch of anger [a year into the relationship]. It’s honeymoon, then tension, and then it’s explosive.”
Tinsley calls the arrest a wake-up call of sorts, and it was the moment, for her, that really ended things with her ex. According to the NYC socialite, who hails from Richmond, VA originally, she went to her ex's home that night to retrieve her purse. They fought and the police were called by Tinsley. She didn't realize that there was a trespassing warning on her. The charges were later dropped.
"It was horrible. Being arrested was the only thing that broke me out of the cycle of violence. Now I'm done," she said. "It ended very abruptly in an arrest, which was unfairly reported about in the press, but thank God that it did happen because it did break me out of a very tumultuous, terrible relationship and it ended up getting me back to New York."
Now Tinsley is looking forward to introducing herself to the world on RHONY. "I just can't believe how much has changed in the past year of my life. We're almost a year now [since] when I was arrested, so it's just so much can change in a year," she said. "And also I had several dark years in Palm Beach. I lost myself and I'm just so happy to be back."
Learn more about the Big Apple newbie ahead of RHONY's April 5 premiere, below.