The Real Housewives of New Jersey star, 41, opened up about her relationship and family life ahead of the season 11 premiere of the Bravo series, which will show a side of the couple fans haven’t seen before. While they’ve been together for a long time, the pair have faced plenty of challenges.
“Whoever said marriage is easy is a liar,” Melissa tells Us Weekly exclusively. “Joe and I have a beautiful thing because we both always wanted the same things in life: a successful, healthy family and [we make] sure everyone around us is happy. Our kids are our life, and they are the reason we work so hard, try so hard and fight so hard for our marriage.”
Melissa married Teresa Giudice‘s brother, 41, in 2004, and they share children Antonia, 15, Gino, 13, and Joey, 10. Though they’ve spent 11 years in the spotlight thanks to the Housewives franchise, the couple always try to remember their roots.
“I feel like we’re doing a pretty good job for being in the public eye for this long!” Melissa says. “We both try to keep our two feet on the ground and remember what is real and what is not.”
This season, reality TV fans will get a more personal glimpse at the Gorga household — even the messiest parts. Melissa previously told Us exclusively that she and Joe had been “struggling” to stay on the same page during the coronavirus pandemic.
“He likes things to stay the same. I’ve been with him since I was 24 years old,” the New Jersey native revealed earlier this month. “So I’ve changed and I feel like this is a scary part of marriage. Either you’re going to grow together or you’re going to grow apart. And I think we’re fighting really hard to grow together. … We were struggling and we show it.”
Despite their ups and downs, the twosome are committed to putting their best foot forward and setting an example for their kids to always work hard for what they want.
“The biggest challenge with the kids that Joe and I always talk about is the fact that we are able to give them everything, but we are always trying to figure out a way to show them how hard we work,” Melissa says. “We want them to know they need to work hard as well if they want to maintain the lifestyle they are accustomed to.”
A recent trailer for the upcoming season of RHONJ suggests that more than just Melissa and Joe’s relationship will be put under a microscope. “Everyone’s marriage can look absolutely perfect on the outside,” costar Margaret Josephs hints in the teaser, to which Melissa responds, “But guess what? Things aren’t always what they seem.”
The Real Housewives of New Jersey returns to Bravo Wednesday, February 17, at 9 p.m. ET.