'RHONJ': Margaret Has 'No Regrets' Over Jackie Fallout (Exclusive) (2024)

Margaret Josephs feels "everything's coming to light, the way it should" on season 14 ofThe Real Housewives of New Jersey.

"It's sad, a lot of fractured friendships, but I think people see the real truth," the longtime star tells ET over video chat. "Everyone's gonna be super entertained-- and just wait for that season finale, because ... maybe I'm gonna be the one vindicated this time."

For almost her entire tenure on RHONJ, Margaret's found herself at odds with OG star Teresa Giudice, who's claimed time and time again that Margaret is responsible for everything negative that unfolds within their group. Teresa even teased at the start of the season that she -- not Margaret -- will come out victorious in the years-long fight by finale.

"I mean, seriously? She has an interesting mind," Margaret hits back, sharing that the "smoking gun" Teresa keeps teasing is the fact that Margaret was once in contact with the ex-fiancée of Teresa's husband, Louie Ruelas, with whom the couple's been in a legal battle over harassment.Margaret says Teresa's timeline, though, is off.

"That was way after anything she thinks," Margaret notes. She previously told Jeff Lewis Live!that she got in touch with the ex in question only after Teresa got in contact with Margaret's former friend, Laura Jensen, which sparked issues on the show. Margaret spoke with the ex again after Louie announced his friend, private investigator Bo Dietl, provided him with dirt on the entire cast ofRHONJ, a claim he's since walked back.

Margaret, Teresa and Louie got into it at the season 13 reunion over the P.I. investigation, as well as Margaret's claim that Louie made a threatening phone call to her son (who's never appeared on the show) at work. Louie denied the call ever took place, suggesting his phone number -- which appeared on phone records Margaret provided as proof -- was used in a "spoof call" plot. Some viewers still don't buy that Louie ever called Margaret's son, especially after Teresa swore on her four daughters that it never happened. Margaret suggests there's more evidence she could provide to shut down the cynics, but she's prioritizing her family's privacy over a reality TV "I told you so."

"My family's private citizens, I'm not going to put them on the chopping block -- my children, my son, my whatever -- to to satisfy naysayers," she explains. "I don't have to prove it to anybody. The people who know are myself, the network, my close friends, and that's what the people who need to know."

"Usually on 'spoof calls,' you know, no one's on the other end," she adds. "There was a conversation that was had, FYI. It wasn't like there was no one on the other end. There was threats made."

Margaret is also keeping the nature of those threats private, but does offer this: "[My son] said, the phone number was seen. That I [know who you are] ... [Louie] immediately said, 'Oh, it's the wrong number. I have the wrong number,' hung up."

It's one of the many topics of discussion constantly recirculating among the fandom on social media, where a side show of sorts is playing out as the actual show airs on Bravo. Since the start of the season, one account has routinely posted alleged receipts that appear to show Teresa and Jennifer Aydin feeding intel to this fan page in order to generate story for the show, or push certain narratives as it airs. Jennifer has yet to publicly address the allegations, while Teresa has denied having anything to do with it.

"It's all true," Margaret scoffs. "It is a thousand percent true; I had called it a year ago. I was alerted by another account that this was happening. I had filed a police report against that account and, it's so funny, in one of the screenshot this account says to Teresa -- the screenshots! Oh my god. 'I got a cease and desist letter from Margaret's attorney.' Classic!"

"This account has had a change of heart, a come to Jesus moment, thankfully, you know? In good conscience and in good faith, has come clean with everything," she continues. "I believe it all to be true, because ... everything she has said, you know, over the months of last year during filming, of this year, was all coming out on the blogs prior. It's nothing-- everything does add up. And it's sad. It's sad that someone would hijack seasons like that, hire people to do these horrible things. It's very, very unfortunate."

Teresa claims Margaret is actually the one behind the the social media drama, a long-con plot to frame her and Jennifer; former co-star Danielle Staub has also alleged that Margaret secretly collaborates, or even runs, certain pages.

"Never once," Margaret declares. "No one has ever done one thing. I bought a pizza box once from someone, who bought it on eBay. So I said, 'Yeah, bring me that pizza box,' and I paid them for it. Big deal. That's the worst I've ever done, buy the pizza box, so I could do something fun with it at a reunion. Yeah, that's called Housewife-ery, big deal."

The "pizza box" in question was actually an at-home pizza oven, a failed business Teresa, Louie and her brother, Joe Gorga, attempted to start together. Their disagreements over the project played into Teresa and Joe's falling out in season 13, which came to a dramatic head at the reunion, at which Margaret didnotbring out the oven she bought off the fan.

"I've never fed information on one blog account," she makes clear. "I don't need to. I don't have time. I actually have businesses and a job outside of this, unlike-- no one has shown a screenshot of me doing anything. Nothing remotely like that. No one has come out against me. Nothing like this. This woman [posting receipts now] has an entire Bible, years of things. Screeners were sent. I mean, this is sick. This is manipulation of an entire season -- seasons, I should say."

Margaret questions how anyone would believe she was behind the account in question, knowing that it posted "the most vicious" things about her, her close friend and business partner, Lexi Barbuto, and castmate Melissa Gorga for years.

"Thisaccount was the most vile account in the entire universe," she reiterates. "So I did all of that, years in advance, to then twist and turn around just to take down Teresa and Jennifer? OK..."

Margaret says her mission has never been to take anyone down; however, Teresa has made it clear she wants to "expose" Margaret for "the liar" she believes her to be. She doubled down on that directive on Sunday's episode, telling Jennifer and Dolores Catania that her main motivation for forming a friendship with her own former enemy and Margaret's former close pal, Jackie Goldschneider, was to get info that might help her cause.

"I knew it to be true all along," Margaret proclaims. "Teresa, you know, people say I'm obsessed with her. I could care less about her. She's clearly obsessed with me."

Jackie pulled away from Margaret over the course of filming season 14; onscreen, their main issue appears to be over Jackie's memoir,The Weight of Beautiful, and her unwillingness to give Margaret an advanced copy or credit for helping make the book a reality. Jackie's since shared that their friendship started to fracture when Margaret gave her an ultimatum of sorts, pressuring Jackie to quit the show if Louie returned. Margaret's friend, Jenn Fessler, shared a similar anecdote, but made it clear Margaret never asked her to quit the show. Margaret says only one of those conversations ever happened.

"Jenn Fessler has come to my defense and told the truth," she says. "I never said that. Jenn Fessler had said to me, 'Oh my god, if you don't come back, I'm not coming back.' That was the conversation, and this is the truth. Why would I even ask Jackie, who I didn't even know was going to be asked back, who was hanging on by a thread, to not come back?"

Jackie went from full-time Housewife to "friend of" in season 13; she holds the same role in season 14.

"I don't need to ask people not to come back," Margaret continues. "I'm strong enough on my own to make my own decisions. I would never ask anybody to give up their career or anything remotely like that. The network knew exactly how I felt. They take things very seriously."

As for people who question why Margaret returned to the show if she was so opposed to being around Louie, she points out that viewers have not seen her share any screen time with the man in season 14.

"I have not filmed with Louie, I have not been around Louie," she notes. "[The producers] understand the the severity of the situation, the way I felt."

"It's boundaries," she says. "I have boundaries that were crossed ... and they respect those boundaries. It's very simple."

Margaret says her issues with Jackie are also simple, though it hasn't exactly come across that way onRHONJ.

"Some people are like, 'Margaret's whining. She just didn't get a book!' That's not what it was," she says. "When I said I championed Jackie, that means I supported her. I wasn't taking credit for anything. Obviously, she's an an unbelievably talented writer. What I was hurt and sad about was, I was the first one who knew about everything, because I helped her get [the book deal], which that doesn't mean she wouldn't have gone on her own, but her original agent had left her, insulted her, hurt her. She called me hysterical, crying. I was like, 'Please go work with my with [team].'"

"I helped empower her, because she was feeling very much on the back foot, which any good friend would do," she continues. "I don't need credit for that. So, I felt very invested in her and our relationship and the book with her. I was the first one who saw her cover the day she was doing the shoot. We had the same publisher. She needed my press list. She needed my influencer list. ... Everybody who works for her, worked for me originally. I gave her those people, and of course you do that for a good friend. So, I felt it was very calculated of her to not give me the book, because she was trying to prove something. So that's why I was frustrated and irritated. I think that didn't come across."

Margaret says she's "not surprised at all" by Jackie's choice to pursue a friendship with Teresa, which has been described as "calculated" by some of the cast, with Dolores going so far as to suggest Jackie wanted to use Teresa to get publicity for her book.

"I think that they deserve each other," Margaret says. "I am a good friend, regardless of what anybody says. I'm brutally honest, and that's what you get with me as a friend. What you get with both of them is a friend based on being calculated for convenience, and what you could get out of each other, and it's not a true friendship."

Margaret says she has "no regrets" in her handling of her falling out with Jackie, shouting out her divisive choice to send a screenshot of a text exchange between herself and Jackie, in which Jackie slammed Dolores and called her a "slob" for not tagging her in a group photo on Instagram, to Dolores while she was talking to Jackie at a party attended by the majority of the cast as a "fabulous" decision.

"At that moment, I was very true to myself, and what I was what I was showing Dolores just basically a glimpse-- and she knows about it, truthfully. what I go to through with Jackie," Margaret says. "My job with Jackie was ... talking her off the ledge on a regular basis. She'd be upset about something. I would say, 'It's not true. Don't feel that way.' You saw my part of the screenshot was like, 'No, I don't think so...'"

Margaret says she was pushed over the edge to pull the text stunt after Jackie ran to Margaret's husband, Joe Benigno, and threw her arms around him, after getting into a near-shouting match with Margaret that effectively ended their friendship.

"Very inappropriate after you just scream at me," she points out. "Then, going to Dolores, who she just [badmouthed] only, like, three weeks prior, not even, you know, saying these horrible things, acting like you're her friend and everything else? So it was just, like ... let me show Dolores what you're really like. Don't try and discredit me."

Jackie was, unsurprisingly, upset by Margaret's move, immediately telling Dolores that Margaret, too, says "horrible" things about people in the group, Dolores included -- she just doesn't put things in writing. Dolores didn't seem to care.

"I put things in writing that I truly believe," Margaret corrects the record. "Whatever I say behind your back, I'm going to say to your face."

There's some speculation that Jackie later exposes one of Margaret's alleged comments about Dolores and her boyfriend, Paul "Paulie" Connell, as revenge, leading to a previously teased altercation between Dolores and Margaret, during which Dolores appears to call Margaret a "f**king c**t."

"I was a little shocked by that, it's very upsetting," Margaret offers of the tense moment. "But it's nothing to do with [Jackie]."

Margaret says she and Dolores "made up very quickly" after the word came flying out of Dolores' mouth. The same can't be said for her and Jackie, who remain at odds.

"I hope it was worth it," she says. "I hope it was worth that. You gave up true friendships of myself, Melissa. We really, we really loved you. We really championed you, and I just hope it was worth it. But you reap what you sow."

That lesson is also at play for Jennifer Aydin and Danielle Cabral. Sunday's episode ended with the two getting into a physical altercation at a party at Teresa's house, Jennifer shoving a too-close-for-comfort Danielle away from her in the heat of an argument. Danielle then slammed her drink against Jennifer's head, before making a swift exit. Both women received suspensions from filming after the incident, returning to production after an investigation.

"Jennifer, to me, is clearly at fault," Margaret says. She watched the moment play out alongside the viewers, as she did not attend the event.

"Danielle, it was a knee-jerk reaction," she adds, amounting Danielle's drink-smash to a reflex after being pushed "hard" by Jennifer.

"Listen, Danielle got in my face before, the season previously," Margaret points out, referencing their tense confrontation at season 13's "Roaring 20s" finale party. "I didn't push her. She was just as close to me. I didn't have that reaction to push her and do something like that."

While Margaret says "violence isn't the answer," she also understands Danielle's reaction after being pushed, both physically and emotionally. The Boujie Kidz designer joined the cast in season 13, welcomed into the circle by Teresa and Jennifer, and ultimately labeled a "soldier" for the duo after the events of the finale.

At the flapper-themed party, Danielle confronted Melissa over rumors involving her cheating on her husband, Joe, which she learned of through Jennifer. Melissa revealed to Danielle she was already aware of the gossip (initially provided to Jennifer by Margaret's ex-friend, Laura), because Teresa had brought it to Joe's attention ahead of the season. Melissa called it a set-up, with Danielle left to fall on the sword Teresa and Jennifer laid out for her. Teresa and Jennifer denied doing so, and Danielle took them at their word. However, suspicion crept in this season, after Jennifer brought a friend, Lina Kidis (a hairstylist used by a few members of the cast), onto the show to air out some grievances with Danielle. Lina shared how she had done free hair work for Danielle, but was thrown out of the VIP section of a charity event theRHONJstar hosted. Jennifer said it was one of many examples in a pattern of behavior she saw in Danielle, revealing another instance of allegedly betraying a hairstylist ahead of their physical altercation.

"I think Jennifer has set up Danielle more than once," Margaret muses. "I think it just sets in motion that Danielle realizes that these people, really, it comes to light that these people are not her friends, or never were her friends, and I think it this season really takes a turn."

The season is barreling toward a much-hyped finale, an all-cast showdown so big that the network decided to cancel the reunion.

"You know, a lot of things happen at Rails," Margaret teases, name-checking the scene of the crime, a steakhouse made famous by the show.

"It's just not the fight between Danielle and Jennifer," she adds. "I think it's a lot of things. I can't say anybody's most at fault. ... I think there's just such a buildup of so many relationships that just explode."

Margaret says it was clear to the already divided group that "there's just nowhere to go from there" after taping the glass-breaking luncheon. Still, she's a little disappointed there won't be a reunion to clear things up.

"Of course I was very sad, because I think I still have a lot to say," she shares. "Not that I think there's going to be amends made, and that's what a reunion is about, moving forward, but I think there's things that I wanted to say, because so many things have transpired since. ... Receipts have been shown that I would have loved to discuss, but I was like, you know what? That's just the way it is. That's life, and maybe it's better, because some people I really don't want to ever see again."

The network has teased there will be an "alternative" end to the season in lieu of a reunion, one Margaret hopes gives the cast a chance to "say our piece." It's clear a shake-up is coming for the Garden State for season 15.

"I don't want to see this darkness, I don't want to see people manipulating storylines," Margaret says of her hopes of where the show goes. "I want good times, fun times, light shade."

At the most extreme, Bravo brings in an all-new cast for season 15; at the least, a portion of the current cast is let go. If Margaret winds up as one of the fired few, she's OK with that.

"I've reinvented myself numerous times," she declares. "This is just a part of my life. Housewives has been a beautiful part of my life, not my whole life. I have [my beverage brand] Soirée, which I'm focusing on ... I have a lot of things. I was on TV, as a lifestyle expert, prior to Housewives. I still have opportunities to do that. So, I have endless possibilities. So this would just be a great memory, and that would be it so. I'd be super excited just for new, exciting things to happen."

The Real Housewives of New Jerseyairs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo. Episodes stream next day on Peaco*ck.

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