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‘RHONJ’s Jenn Fessler Reacts to Margaret Josephs and Rachel Fuda Being Upset Over Teresa Giudice Conversation

Jenn Fessler is a loyal friend, but never took a pledge of allegiance to anyone. 

The Real Housewives of New Jersey season 13 breakout finds herself in an awkward position in season 14, as close pals Margaret Josephs (whom she’s known for years) and Rachel Fuda (whom she met while filming their mutual first season in 2022) call her out for communicating with their sworn enemy, Teresa Giudice. Both women have claimed Jenn promised many times over that she would not interact with the RHONJ OG nor her husband, Louie Ruelas, after the season 13 reunion. That sit-down largely focused on the majority of the ensemble’s belief that Louie had the cast investigated, a claim Louie first made himself in the season finale, before walking it back at the reunion. 

“What happened was– and I think the first episode, maybe you saw me saying to Margaret, you know, ‘I told you that if you don’t want to be around these people again, neither will I…’ and what I meant by that was, if you’re not gonna go back and do the show again, then I’m not going to go back and do the show again,” Jenn explains to ET over video chat. 

“Margaret, as you know, went back and did the show again, and so here I am,” she continues. “I didn’t say I would never be around Louie, or talk to Louie and Teresa again.”

Margaret opted to cut ties with longtime frenemy Teresa for good after her son, who’s remained a private citizen since she joined the show in 2017, received a threatening phone call at work, which Margaret claims came from Louie. He’s denied the call ever happened, and Jenn offered to hash things out with Teresa on Margaret’s behalf, but Margaret advised her against it. 

“I’m definitely learning some lessons this year,” she confesses. “To float in and to float right back out, and maybe not get quite as involved.”

Jenn Fessler poses for her ‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey’ cast portrait.Andrew Eccles/Bravo

After the season 13 reunion, Teresa claimed someone heard Jenn saying something along the lines of, “You failed to execute the plan” to some of the cast backstage. That fed into Teresa’s belief that her co-stars — namely Margaret, Rachel and Teresa’s sister-in-law, Melissa Gorga — attempted a plotted takedown of Louie and Teresa at the reunion, which they’ve denied. The group has, instead, confirmed they met the night before the taping to discuss being investigated and to share their own learnings about said investigation. On set, Margaret as well as Rachel’s husband, John Fuda, both brought out manila envelopes of “receipts,” but they were never opened. 

Teresa asked to speak with Jenn at one of the first cast gatherings of the season to get some clarity on the matter; Jenn corrected the record on her supposed “plan” quote, explaining she made a comment about John and Margaret making a big show of having evidence that was never shared — not that there was a failed plot. Jenn then took over the conversation and asked Teresa about some of her own comments, namely Teresa announcing that John was “the biggest drug dealer in Bergen County” at Jenn’s surprise birthday party, held a few days earlier. While Rachel and Margaret were not present for the chat, and therefore didn’t know its contents, Jenn notes they were “not pleased” with it. 

“My intentions were always good,” she professes. “My intentions were to clarify some things, right? To talk to Teresa and make sure that it was out there that John Fuda is not a drug dealer, John Fuda is a fabulous father and a professional and responsible. So, I was actually sort of happy with that part of our conversation, even though Rachel and John would have preferred that I didn’t speak of them at all. Lesson learned.”

Jenn Fessler hears out Teresa Giudice on ‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey.’Bravo

Jenn largely respected Margaret’s wish to not be spoken about with Teresa; the two only spoke briefly about Louie’s alleged phone call, with Teresa swearing on the lives of her four daughters that it didn’t happen. In the moment, Jenn found Teresa’s promise convincing. 

“I probably didn’t communicate this well, because I think that I’ve given the impression that I don’t believe Margaret, which is not the case,” she makes clear. “I do believe, Margaret. …  The truth is, I do believe that Louie did call Margaret’s son.” 

There’s been some fan speculation that the only reason Margaret and Rachel are upset with Jenn is because they fear she’ll spill their secrets to Teresa. Jenn laughs off that theory. 

“No, they are the most boring two women in the world, got nothing,” she jokes. “By the way, if they did [have secrets], nobody’s hearing it from me.”

The day after her one-on-one with Teresa, Margaret and Rachel confronted Jenn over the discussion. Rachel broke down in tears, sharing how she felt betrayed by Jenn. Margaret got defensive, bringing up her long history with the F.Major creator as reason enough for Jenn to take her side over Teresa’s. 

“It’s always surprising when you’re met with anger,” she observes. “I was discussing all of this with my therapist, like I do absolutely everything else, and I’m trying to figure out where I’m accountable and what went wrong,”  

Margaret Josephs voices her frustration with Jenn Fessler to Rachel Fuda on ‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey.’Bravo

“She told me this story very quickly, but this is kind of a parable, but really resonated with me,” she continues. “So, there’s this rabbi, and this husband goes to see this rabbi, and he says, ‘Rabbi, my wife is the worst. She doesn’t cook, she doesn’t clean. She’s mean to the kids,’ and the rabbi’s like, ‘Yeah, it sounds like she’s the worst. You’re right.’ And then the wife goes in and says, ‘Rabbi, my husband is the worst. He drinks all day. He doesn’t make any money. He’s lazy,’ and the rabbi’s like, ‘You know what? Yeah, he’s the worst. You’re right. He’s the worst.’ And the rabbi’s son, after the couple leaves, comes out and says, ‘Dad, you told the husband he’s the worst, and he’s right. You told the wife she’s right. They can’t both be right,’ and the rabbi goes. ‘You know what, son? You’re right. You’re absolutely right.'”

“I’m not a rabbi, so I’m not trying to be the rabbi in this situation, but I will say to you that I’m a listener,” she reflects. “I try to pride myself on being listener, and when you hear other people’s point of views, you know, you can be swayed, and you can be open, and you can hear what people have to say, and I think … I’m great at doing that, but it’s also been my downfall a little bit.”

After her conversation with Teresa aired, Jenn says she did not hear from Margaret nor Rachel. She hasn’t spoken to Rachel in months; the two grew apart over the course of filming, with Rachel declaring to ET last week that they no longer had a friendship at all.

“That was actually news to me,” Jenn admits. “When the season wrapped, we spoke on the phone. We had some laughs. I wished her happy birthday. She told me I was the best…” 

“I’m sad about it,” she says, “but it is what it is, and hopefully, who knows? Maybe we can rekindle some kind of friendship. I hope so.”

Jenn Fessler and Rachel Fuda pose together at ‘Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen.’Charles Sykes / Bravo via Getty Images

Jenn sums it up as “the bloom fell off the rose,” and neither she nor Rachel was who the other thought they were; they were trauma-bonded in a way by the experience of diving head-first into reality TV waters at the same time, but maybe didn’t have a lot in common at the end of the day. Rachel is 20 years Jenn’s junior. 

“I mean, I’m getting a lot of name calling,” Jenn points out. “I think ‘two-faced,’ I’m being called, which I laugh about because I’ve literally had two faces, but like, that’s for another day — thank you, Dr. Sam Rizk, anyway — two-faced, what else am I being? Oh, I’m, I think John said I was a social climber, which I think is interesting … because I don’t think anyone is above me, and I don’t think anyone is beneath me.” 

Jenn’s friendship with Margaret, however, did survive the season, and she makes it known: that friendship stands on its own. She maintains their bond is “deep” and the two remain “very, very close.” 

“I have not gotten to that point with Teresa,” she says. “I can’t really compare the two. Is it possible to be cordial to someone? Is it possible to be kind to someone? Is it possible to listen to someone and still maintain a friendship? Yes, in my humble opinion, it absolutely is.”

Margaret’s friendship with Jackie Goldschenider, with whom Jenn hosts the Two Jersey Js podcast, however, did not make it out of season 14 alive. Jenn calls their falling out “so stupid.” 

“I mean, all of a sudden … Jackie decided that Marge was picking at her and not having her back, and Marge decided that Jackie, you know, wasn’t a good friend and didn’t love her anymore,” she sighs. “But from where I sit … I think it’s enough already. I think that they loved each other for many years. I’m hoping that they can find that love again.”

Making matters worse, in Margaret’s eyes, is Jackie forming a friendship with Teresa and Jennifer Aydin in the aftermath of their falling out. Jackie’s long had issues with both women, especially Teresa, who spread (or simply repeated, if you ask her) a rumor about Jackie’s husband, Evan, being unfaithful in season 10. After their back and forth over that ordeal, it did not seem as if the two would ever find a way to get along, yet here they are.

“Listen, if you watch the Housewives, historically, friends do really nasty things to each other, and then they get over it, so I don’t think what Jackie is doing is necessarily so groundbreaking,” Jenn offers in her friend’s defense, as Margaret and Melissa accuse her of making the alliance swap as a way to guarantee screen time.

“When Jackie and Margaret did their thing and sort of started separating, I think that Teresa and Jen were very warm and welcoming to Jackie, and so I think Jackie responded to that, as most would, right?” Jenn asks. “I can’t really fault her for that, if I’m being honest. I don’t think it was calculated. I don’t think Jackie said, ‘Well, I want to stay on the show. So, I’m going to now become friends with Teresa and Jen…’ I think that it it happened.”

As for whether it was a calculated move on Teresa and Jennifer’s part to befriend Jackie, Jenn won’t give a straight answer.

“Let’s not kid ourselves, OK? It worked out beautifully,” she remarks. “I mean, the timing couldn’t have been perfect, the planets aligned.”

As all this plays out on TV, another story is unfolding on social media, with one fan account has coming forward with claims (and proof in the form of alleged text, DM and email screenshots) that Teresa and Jennifer used her to push negative narratives about the cast online, largely so that the two women could have posts to reference on camera to drive story. Teresa’s denied any involvement in the alleged plot, while Jennifer has yet to address it.

Teresa Giudice and Jennifer Aydin appeared together on stage at BravoCon 2023 in Las Vegas.Chelsea Guglielmino / Bravo via Getty Images

“I think it is just awful,” Jenn says. “I mean, I don’t know what else there is to say about it, and, like everyone else, I’m sort of like taking it in and in real time, and there’s just there’s so much to read. And it’s it’s sickening.”

Jenn says she hasn’t discussed the situation with Teresa or Jennifer, confessing she’s “taken a little break” from the group since filming “for my own mental health.” It’s likely the events of the finale — teased in the season premiere with a flashy montage of screaming, name-calling and glass breaking at a group outing — played into her decision.

“I don’t think you could have anticipated what went down at Rails,” she laments, name-checking the steakhouse where the altercation occurred. “I don’t think anyone anticipated what went down at Rails.”

As for where the group goes from here, Jenn says “greater minds than mine” will figure out that. Housewives executive producer Andy Cohen told ET after filming wrapped that shooting with a divided group likely wasn’t sustainable beyond season 14.

“I have no idea how it’s all gonna pan out in the end,” Jenn muses. “My hope is that season 15 would include women who have love for each other. Obviously, there’s always going to be fighting and disagreements. But at the base of it … there should be love. There should be some kind of sisterhood. I don’t know how you get there. But that’s not my problem.”

The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo. Episodes stream next day on Peacock.


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