In 2010, Dina Manzo surprised many viewers by walking away from The Real Housewives of New Jersey at the height of its success. In the years since, she’s mostly stayed out of the spotlight — even though there were many questions left unanswered about why she left and the current state of her relationship with sister Caroline Manzo.
On Sunday’s episode of Oprah’s Where Are They Now?, Dina finally answered the looming questions.
“At the very beginning of filming we had a lot of fun,” Dina told OWN producers. “Because they weren’t sure what direction the show was going into — it was before the table flip happened.”
After that infamous moment, Dina said she was able to see her co-stars in a different light. And didn’t like it.
“‘Don’t be like any of us, including myself,'” Dina said she told daughter Lexi afterward. “I just was so horrified that my daughter saw that.”
Even though Dina was horrified by the fellow housewives’ behaviors, Dina admitted she wasn’t entirely innocent.
“There were things that aggravated me and I reacted,” Dina said, calling the scenarios the women were placed in as “enhanced reality.”
Ultimately, Dina said she realized she couldn’t justify participating in RHONJ any longer. But, in many ways, the damage was already done. After leaving the show, Dina also isolate herself from her former co-stars, including sister Caroline Manzo and brother Christopher Laurita.
Dina also alienated herself from close friend Teresa Giudice, but repaired that relationship when Teresa came over to chat about things unrelated to the show’s drama.
“(Teresa) made the effort to know I was missing out of her life and made the effort to fix it… The Teresa that I know is still fun-loving.”
The women have been on good terms since then — so much that they even vacation together.
Fixing her relationship with Carolina and Christopher hasn’t been as easy.
“Whatever was a little friction beforehand now became a big deal,” she said about the deep-seated issues that came up during filming.
Unlike her relationship with Teresa, Dina said she can’t get over issues with her brother and sister as easily. Yet, she said she believes in her gut that they will be able to repair things when the show ends.
Until that point, Dina is content with life. She now lives by the simple motto, “This moment is perfect and beautiful and you’re alive.”