WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE WITH ANDY COHEN -- Episode 14159 -- Pictured: Melissa Gorga -- (Photo by: Paul Zimmerman/Bravo)

It’s a new day in the Garden State, and that means everyone is suddenly singing the praises of ex-villain, Danielle Staub, including Real Housewives Of New Jersey’s very own Melissa Gorga. The season eight premiere set viewers up for some interesting dynamics to come, including Siggy Flicker being batsh*t cray-cray, the introduction of pigtail-bedecked Margaret Josephs (who actually seems kind of bada$$ and potentially awesome), and the return of Danielle. Melissa, for one, couldn’t be more delighted that she’s no longer the villain with this new setup!

But the first episode also replayed the sad loss of Joe Gorga and Teresa Giudice’s beloved mother, Antonia, who passed away earlier this year. Melissa admits it was painful to watch it all back again. “Watching the memories of my mother-in-law and hearing her voice brought instant tears to my eyes. She was a wonderful woman, and her life was taken way too young. I never thought I would see the day that Joe broke down and couldn’t work or get out of bed. He was devastated and heartbroken for weeks and still is.”

Melissa is happy to have Danielle back on RHONJ, and seems excited to film a season with the larger than life former Housewife for the first time. She also thinks Danielle will surprise viewers, explaining, “I know there are a lot of preconceived thoughts about her. When I went to her party, it was the first time I had ever met her in person. I was pleasantly surprised, and I think you will be too. Don’t get me wrong — she beats to her own drum, but that’s what I love about her! She is interesting and intriguing, but I think she is very misread. You’ll see what I mean as the season goes on!”

What I’d personally like to see is Danielle running into Caroline Manzo at the Stop-n-Shop. Maybe a little taste of YOU WILL NEVER DESTROY MY FAMBILY! throwdown by the banana stand, perhaps? I’d certainly be here for it.

Next, Melissa talks Boca. While she loved spending her birthday with the ladies, she’s not sure she’d do it again. Probably because Siggy acted so very extra in that damn restaurant! Melissa was, however, grateful for her cake. “I will say I was very thankful that Siggy planned something for my birthday. It was very thoughtful of her, and I love how she took the time to make sure the cake represented me perfectly! It was absolutely gorgeous, and I thanked her. I had no idea Teresa was going to throw it in my face, but it was all in good fun.”

RELATED: Danielle Staub Amazed By How Positive Real Housewives Of New Jersey This Season

Siggy was not happy that the cake fight ensued, but Melissa claims it was just some harmless girls-gone-wild prankin’! She writes it off as “just a bunch of Jersey girls in Florida, drinking and having a little fun! We did get to eat the cake first and it was soooo good. The rest of Florida gets pretty intense, and you’ll have to watch the next episode to see how it all goes down.” Ooh, do tell! Here’s hoping Margaret squares off with Siggy immediately, showing “the most talented person in the world” how things really are.

Melissa’s store, Envy, is now in her sole proprietorship – a title she’s proud to own. She gushes, “Envy! It’s all mine — thank you, Jesus!!! My business partner and I parted ways. It was very unfortunate how it happened and I cried for three days straight when I woke up to an emptied out Envy. My heart was broken, and I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t believe that everything I worked so hard for was taken out from under me. Why take all my clothing to that awful woman’s store?”

Joe literally had to pull me of the couch and tell me to get up, get to New York, and start buying new clothing for the store,” blogs Melissa. “So that’s what I did. There was not even a hanger or a roll of tape left in the store. I had to pull myself together and get it done. Well, I did it in three weeks, Envy and the online store was back up, and I was back in business. I worked my butt off every day to get it back quickly so I wouldn’t lose too many customers. Sometimes they say hardships are a blessing in disguise and I think this definitely was a case of that. Envy is like my fourth child, and no one messes with my children.”

Well, good on ya, Melissa. Now, time to plan the requisite RHONJ fashion show that will include some hair-yanking, a knee-capping, a bit of curb stomping – you know, the usual! (We’ll have the paramedics on standby.)


Photo Credit: Paul Zimmerman/Bravo

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