“If you believe what you’ve read about my mother in the press, you probably just rolled your eyes,” acknowledges Christine. “That’s OK—I’m used to that.”
“I don’t care what any TV viewer believes her to be, or how any media outlet defines her,” adds Christine. “I know who she is, and I admire her.”
CLICK THE CONTINUE READING BUTTON FOR MORE!
Since Danielle left Real Housewives Of New Jersey after season 2, it has been a difficult road for the former Housewife and her two daughters, both teenagers when the show began, but now adults. According to Christine their family has been irrevocably shaped by the callous producer-manipulated portrayal of Danielle, and it has been an immense struggle for them to reclaim their lives.
This spring Christine will graduate from college with a 4.0 double major in psychology and sociology. After that she has plans for graduate school and a desire to get into the medical field. Still, the aftermath of Real Housewives Of New Jersey lingers. As Christine herself explains, “for more than half of my life, my identity can be summed up in one sentence: daughter of one of the most notorious figures in unscripted television history.”
Beyond Danielle being mislabeled as everything from “crazy” to “prostitution whore,” Christine cites the show’s disregard for their actual reality. Born with a rare heart condition, Christine had her first heart attack at age nine. “You didn’t see this on television, but everyone knew about my condition behind the scenes—which of course didn’t stop producers and housewives from terrorizing my mother in front of my face,” she recalls bitterly.
Even on the night of the infamous table flip.
THE BEGINNING IS THE END:
“My little sister [Jillian] and I were there. We saw the table fly on our mother, we heard the expletives, we ran as fast as we could to try to catch up as she was chased around the restaurant, and we heard her cries for help,” Christine writes in a personal essay published for the online feminist magazine Broadly. “We felt helpless and unable to defend her.”
The reverse was also true: Being part of Real Housewives Of New Jersey meant Danielle was unable to defend her daughters from bullies, sexual harassment, and a negative reputation. Christine recounts an experience in high school of being sexually harassed for a blow job, the perpetrator, asking, “I mean, isn’t this what you and your mom do for fun?”
Christine, who denies watching the show while her mother was on it, had no idea why people suddenly had such a poor opinion of Danielle. That ‘blowjob’ incident forced Danielle to be honest about what was happening on RHONJ, specifically Cop Without A Badge.
Christine largely blames her mother’s co-stars for putting out untrue and heinous statements which made Danielle look like a “ho-bag slut” and a bad mother. She pinpoints a interview where a fellow Housewife insinuated Danielle “had a predilection for giving daily blow-jobs to random men,” thus setting a poor example to her daughters.
“Even if this housewife had known the truth, it wouldn’t have made a difference. Even if she’d known how the soundbite affected me, she still would have said it,” maintains Christine, acknowledging, “insinuating someone’s daughter was a ‘slut-in-the-making’ made for great TV.”
With each passing episode, the onslaught of accusations grew worse – as did the effects on Christine and Jillian. “After another housewife said my sister and I appeared ‘dead in the eyes,’ strangers felt the need to repeat the line to us. When the show labeled my mother a criminal, people called us the children of a felon.”
I don’t want to invalidate Christine’s experiences, because I certainly don’t think these girls are in any way to blame for an adult’s behavior, but isn’t some of the onus on Danielle for causing her daughters grief and distress? She did all these things: made a sex tape, was the subject of a salacious book, dug up dirt on the other women and eluded to threats, showed up with Hell’s Angels to a charity event, stripped…
THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW JERSEY CURSE:
“These were the early days of reality shows,” defends Christine. “Today, reality stars are savvy, but a decade ago, talent lacked a frame of reference.”
“My mother’s storyline was edited and produced,” says Christine. “Placing her in scenarios to achieve a desired outcome. She wouldn’t normally be involved in these scenarios; they were dictated by the producers, and they just told my mom where to show up for filming. In season one, my mother didn’t expect this to happen.”
Christine claims Danielle’s initial approach was to “just be herself,” which it turns out wasn’t good enough. Oh, on the contrary… “Little did she know that ‘myself’ is how the producers choose to present you. The producers had the power to manipulate my mother in any way they pleased to increase ratings.”
Christine’s disparagement of how Real Housewives Of New Jersey treated her family asks us to consider, “Imagine if all of the arguments you’ve had in your life were filmed by a stranger, and they took out the worst things you said, edited it together, and then presented the footage on TV to define your character. Would you say that characterization was accurate?”
“Anything that is produced, and edited in this manner, is fictitious by default, but unlike an actor, my mother didn’t have the advantage of hiding behind a character, not to mention that the term reality forms a perception that is impossible to overcome when the viewers aren’t aware of what goes down behind the scenes.”
Danielle was on Real Housewives Of New Jersey for two seasons. Christine alleges the network made it appear as if Danielle was fired when in actuality she “left to save her life and her kids.”
Unfortunately Leaving Real Housewives Of New Jersey did little to solve Danielle or her daughters’ issues.
Another photo of Danielle, Christine, and Jillian today [Credit]
THE AFTERMATH IS GRIM:
With RHONJ continuing to replay, Danielle’s image was irrevocably tainted and Christine claims it has been “impossible to overcome” the character Danielle was turned into. “My mother can’t find work because of the preconceived notion America has about her. Since she left the show, my family has fallen on hard times.”
“Even now, all these years later, people see me as a character created by a producer,” laments Christine. “They see me as the daughter of an infamous reality show prostitution whore.”
The stigma prompted Danielle to take her daughters and run. “We packed a few suitcases and left my hometown in New Jersey. Overnight, I left the only home I’d ever known for a nondescript apartment in an anonymous town. We didn’t have furniture, so we slept on blow-up mattresses. I worried about my grades. I missed three weeks of school as my mom desperately searched for an educational institution where I would receive more respect and protection—a place where fellow students would not demand blowjobs.”
Running temporarily made Christine feel safe. “Unfortunately, there are some things you cannot ever escape.” The everlasting stain of reality TV stigmas being one of them.
The show left her feeling like “garbage” and Christine blames Real Housewives Of New Jersey for taking away “my name and my voice.” Until now. Both Christine and Danielle are now speaking out to share their stories of just what happened behind the Posche Boutique glamour.
“I will no longer be the excess debris created by a produced, manipulated, pseudo-reality universe,” asserts an empowered Christine. “Now I have a voice, and the time has come for my mother to reclaim her own—to reclaim the respect she deserves.”
According to Christine’s essay, Danielle’s intent with her tell-all is to “open up about every dirty detail once and for all.”
Well this should be interesting!
TELL US – WHAT DO YOU THINK OF CHRISTINE’S ACCOUNT? WILL YOU READ DANIELLE’S TELL-ALL?
[Main Photo Credit: Instagram]