Sorry, Caroline Manzo fans. The OG Real Housewives of New Jersey star said she declined an “insulting” offer to return for the Bravo reality show’s 10th season.
On the Tuesday, April 2, episode of the “Dear Albie” podcast — hosted by her sons Chris and Albie Manzo — the 57-year-old claimed that RHONJ producers wanted to test her out with the Bravo show’s current cast members. (She also clarified that Andy Cohen was not involved in the negotiations.)
“They wanted me back to see how I blend with the women — that’s an insult,” she said. “I helped build that show. I wasn’t the cause of that success, I was part of that puzzle. A very, very important puzzle. Point is, you don’t insult me like that. You don’t insult me like that by saying, ‘Let’s see how you do.’ You know how I’m going to do. You know how I’m going to blend, and you know what I’m going to bring.”
In Caroline’s mind, her five-season tenure on the show from 2009 to 2013 should speak for itself. “I don’t want to sound like a bitch, but I suppose I have to,” she said on the podcast. “You’re not going to figure me out after five years being able to see, ‘Well, gee, does she blend?’ Whether I blend or I don’t blend, I’ll always be Caroline. And that’s something I swore to my family and I swore to my viewers over the years. You’ll always get me. So if me is not good enough for you — or maybe the paycheck is something you didn’t want to write at this point, which is my guess — that’s the bottom line. I’m not thirsty.”
In fact, money seemed to be a major sticking point in Caroline’s negotiations with the producers. “Pay me what I’m worth, OK?” she said on the podcast. “You got an OG here, and I’m going to be arrogant … It’s just a matter of respect! I was one of the original women who built the show. I’m one of the original women they still talk about, OK? Don’t come back to me like a newbie and [expect] I’m going to fall for your bulls–t because I’m not. You come back to me and give me a reasonable compensation and a reasonable position where I feel I belong, OK, then I’ll come back.”
“I’m nobody’s ‘Friend,’” the Manzo’d With Children alum concluded. “I’m not ‘Friend of.’ I’m not ‘Housewife, maybe.’ I’m Housewife!”
Jacqueline Laurita, another of RHONJ’s original stars, stuck up for Caroline on Instagram. “OMG that is EXACTLY what I told them when they came to me 8th season!” the 48-year-old wrote in a comment on Caroline’s post teasing the podcast episode. “They need you back! That would be epic! You’re the real queen of that show and Teresa [Giudice] knows it! That’s why she doesn’t want you back and is always talking bad about you publicly. She’s scared of you!”
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The Real Housewives of New Jersey season 10 will star Giudice, Melissa Gorga, Dolores Catania, Margaret Josephs, Jennifer Aydin and Jackie Goldschneider. A premiere date for the season has not been announced.
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